Skip to main content

Full text of "Life of St. Brigid, virgin : first abbess of Kildare, special patroness of Kildare Diocese, and general patroness of Ireland"

See other formats


MB8HHBMI 



o co 





m 



LIFE 



OF 



ST. BRIGID, 



FIRST ABBESS OF KILDARE, 

SPECIAL PATRONESS OF KILDARE DIOCESE, AND 
GENERAL PATRONESS OF IRELAND. 





BY THE 



REV. JOHN O HANLON, M.R.I. A 



ILLUSTRATED \\ITH TIIIRTKEV ENGRAVINGS ox WOOD. 



DUBLIN: 

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY JOSEPH DOLLARD, 
13 & 14 DAME STREET, AND DAME LANE. 

1877- v 



|W|N 



CONTENTS. 



PREFACE ... iii 

CHAPTER I. Introduction Author s Han and Treatment Authorities, 
ancient and modern, for the Life of St. Brigid Critical 
Remarks The Holy Virgin s Parentage Place and Date 
of her Birth ... ... " ... ... ... ... I 

CHATTER II. The Scotch Claim to St. Brigid s Birth examined Probable 
Origin of this Error Refutation Early and supernatural 
Indications of Brigid s Sanctity Her Spirit of Prophecy 
manifested Her infantile Virtues Her probable Acquaint 
ance with St. Patrick during Childhood Her Resolution to 
live a Virgin Her Characteristics and Comparison to the 
Blessed Virgin Mary by the Irish ... ... ... 33 

CHAPTER III. Statement regarding St. Brigid s Parents Her personal and 
mental Attractions during her early Youth Alleged Treat 
ment by her Parents Her great Charity towards the Poor 
Brought before Dunlaing, King of Leinster His Admiration 
of her Virtues Her Resolution to embrace a Religious Life 
A Suitor proposes Marriage with Assent of her Family 
She rejects this Offer Her Religious Profession, and 
Opinions advanced relative to it Probable Time and Place 
Establishment of St. Brigid s first Religious House She 
selects the Beatitude of Mercy for her special Practice Her 
Miracles ... ... ... ... ... ... 49 

CHAPTER IV. Remarkable Manifestations of Providence in St. Brigid s Regard 
She cures many diseased and afflicted Persons Her 
Bounties and Hospitality She visits St. I bar Bishop Mel s 
Religious Intimacy with St. Brigid Her Miracles in Theba 
or Teffia Said to have met St. Patrick at Tailtin Her 
Power over Demons ... ... ... ... ... 67 

CHAPTER V. At St. Lasara s Convent St. Brigid \vorks Miracles Her Excur 
sion to Munster with Bishop Ere The Holy Abbess visits 
Connaught Her Labours and Austerities while there The 
People of Leinster request her to return She complies, and 
re-crosses the Shannon She resolves on building her great 
Establishment at Kildare ... ... ... ... 77 

CHAPTER VI. Kings of Ireland in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries Condition 
of Leinster after the Middle of the Fifth Century Kildare 
Period when selected by St. Brigid for her chief Monastery 
Gradual Growth and Importance of the Place Instances 
of her Protection ... ... ... ... ... 93 

CHAPTER VII. St. Brigid s Intimacy with St. Patrick Armagh Foundation 
of St. Brigid there Her Miracles Vision regarding St. 
Patrick s last Resting-place Her Spirit of sublime Recol 
lection and her great Charity She desires the Introduction 
of the Roman Rite for Ireland ... ... ... ... 104 

CHAPTER VIII. Illand, the warrior Prince of Leinster St. Brigid visits her 
Father, Dubtach, and protects his Family Favours accorded 
to the Holy Abbess She visits King Illand and blesses him 
The Victories of this Dynast over his Enemies The 
Borumha Laighean Wars throughout Ireland during St. 
Brigid s Lifetime Death of King Illand Victory obtained 
after his Death by the Lagenians, through the special Pro 
tection of St. Brigid ... ... ... ... ... 115 



viii CONTENTS, 



CHAPTER IX. Different Places called Kilbridc, on the Eastern and South- 
Eastern Coast of ancient Leinster, where the Holy Abbess 
may have lived St. Brigid and St. Senan St. Brigid 
restores a Cripple An insane Man Various Miracles which 
were wrought through her Merits She prevents Bloodshed 
between Conall and Cairbre She saves Conall from his 
Enemies ... ... ... ... 128 

CHAPTER X. Ancient Irish Hospitality Bishop Broon s Visit to St. Brigid 
The Eight Bishops of Tullach na n-Espuc Holy Brigid s 
Love for the Poor Her generous Good Nature Her Gentle 
ness of Manner Illustration of such Characteristics Her 
Chaplain, Natfroich St. Ninnidh St. Conleath appointed 
Bishop of Kildare ... ... ... ... ... 1-10 

CHAPTER XI. St. Brigid s Benignity and Prudence Rewards miraculously 
bestowed on the Poor and on her Entertainers St. Ilinna 
Miraculous Occurrences St. Daria s Sight partially restored 
Faith in St. Brigid s Intercession justified ... ... 154 

CHAPTER XII. The Disciples of St. Brigid Her holy Contemporaries She 
obtains Pardon for a Man unjustly condemned to Death 
The Drovers and Swine escape from Wolves St. Brigid 
protects a young Lady, who wished to be a Nun She 
relieves the Road-makers Other remarkable Occurrences ... 159 

CHAPTER XIII. St. Brigid s reputed Residence at Glastonbury The early 
Practice of Writing and Illuminating in Ireland Writings 
ascribed to St. Brigid The Conventual Rule and Discipline, 
under which herself and her Nuns lived Her Charity in 
relieving the Poor Her Modesty, her self-sacrificing Spirit, 
her Liberality, her Gifts of Mind and Person, her Powers for 
healing the Sick and Infirm, her Vigils, and her Care for 
Subjects ... ... ... ... ... ... 169 

CHAPTER XIV. Vision of St. Brigid regarding her approaching Death Her 
Preparation St. Nennid administers the last Sacraments to 
her The Year and Day of St. Brigid s Departure The 
Place where it occurred Kildare and its Religious Founda 
tions St. Brigid s Shrine and Relics Honour paid to her 
Memory ... ... ... ... ... ... 177 

CHAPTER XV. Miracles wrought at Kildare after St. Brigid s Death The 
Falcon St. Brigid s Relics are removed to Down Remark 
able Discovery of the Bodies of St. Patrick, St. Brigid and 
St. Columkille in that City Solemn Translation to a 
magnificent Tomb Kildare and its Traditions Desecration 
of holy Remains at Down Reputed Removal of St. Brigid s 
Head to Austria, and afterwards to Lisbon ... ... lS6 

CHATTER XVI. Ancient Churches, Chapels, Religious Institutions, and Places 
dedicated to, or called after, St. Brigid, in Ireland Holy 
Wells and Objects associated with her Memory Modern 
Churches, Chapels, and Convents, dedicated to her Religious 
Orders placed under her Patronage ... ... ... 193 

CHAPTER XVII. Churches and Religious Institutes dedicated to St. Brigid, in the 
British Islands, in ancient and modern Times, as also on the 
Continent of Europe, and in America Festivals, Commemo 
rations, Offices, Hymns, Relics, Usages, and popular 
Memorials, referring to her Conclusion " ... ... 211 



PREFACE. 



THE publication of a full and critical Life of Ireland s Virgin Patroness had 
long been desired, by the clergy and laity of our country. While preparing 
the following Biography, as a leading feature in his " Lives of the Irish 
Saints," the author was urged, by many devout clients of St. Erigid, to issue 
it in a separate form, to satisfy the wants and wishes of numerous kind 
friends. Not alone members of religious communities, under the special 
patronage of this holy virgin, and pastors or teachers, whose churches or 
educational institutions have been placed under her invocation, will be 
afforded a better opportunity, for becoming acquainted with her surpassing 
virtues and miracles, through this medium ; but, even the general public can 
learn such particulars of her Life, as may serve still more to extend the love 
and veneration, due to her memory and merits. 

Abroad, as well as at home, the Irish race has never ceased to regard this 
holy virgin as a bright example of the active and contemplative life, united 
in a purity of purpose and an energy of will, which enabled her to confer 
countless blessings, on the country of her birth, and during the period when 
she flourished ; but, even in our own times, and to the most remote parts of 
the earth, her fame has been diffused ; while, thousands of Erin s daughters, 
who have received her name in Baptism, and who have assumed it at Con 
firmationnot to speak of the numbers who have chosen to be called by it in 
the hallowed retirement of the cloister are justly proud of and grateful for 
that distinction and those spiritual advantages, which are inseparably con 
nected with a pious and faithful regard, for the efficacy of her intercession. 
After our illustrious Apostle, St. Patrick, no other Irish saint, probably, has 
secured a greater depth of affection and reverence, in the hearts of our people, 
than she, who, in so special a manner, has been designated, " the Mary of 
Erin." At a time, when our Island was just emerging from the darkness of 
heathen superstition, she obtained heavenly monitions and inspiration, while 
eagerly receiving the teaching and impulse that glorious missionary so trium 
phantly proclaimed and imparted to a believing nation. Seldom, if ever, has 
the Church witnessed more glorious and peaceful conquests than these effected, 
through the arguments and preaching of St. Patrick; while, among all his 
distinguished converts, none appear to move in more radiant light, than the 
nobly born and predestined child of grace, St. Brigid. To trace her brilliant 
career, from the cradle to the grave, forms a task of no ordinary difficulty for her 



iv PREFACE. 

biographer ; to show forth, some of the wonderful manifestations of Divine 
Providence, in her behalf, is the effort so inadequately attempted in succeeding 
pages. 

That peculiarly spiritual and national character of the people converted 
led this holy virgin to a sphere of usefulness, for which her talents and vir 
tues were admirably adapted. The Irish nation even yet retains that impress, 
which it received from our glorious Apostle, Patrick, and in a manner, too, 
that no other Christian community has excelled. It has preserved the 
spirit and mould of his noble generosity and self-devotion, from the fifth to 
the nineteenth century. Among St. Patrick s spiritual daughters, the dis 
tinguished subject of the present biography holds a foremost place. Her 
bright example has brought numerous Irish females to a state of holiness on 
earth and to an eternal reward in Heaven. In the career of St. Brigid, im 
pulses of religious zeal were tempered and purified by contact, with the 
duties of an active public life ; while, the rules of a virtuous discipline and 
the occupations of useful labour directed the communities and houses, 
over which she so happily presided. She travelled much to engage in the 
great work of her time the conversion in detail of both pagans and 
believers. In this work, she seemed to care for no amount of toil, and 
hardly to know of any rest or relaxation. 

It must appear evident, the writer has not been desirous of obtruding 
original views, on the reader s attention, at doubtful passages of her Life, 
lor the mere purpose of supporting some favourite theory or paradox, not 
sufficiently borne out by legitimate proofs or inferences. He has rather pre 
ferred citing his authority for each statement, or indicating sources for infor 
mation, which he found most available or useful. On the whole, the nu 
merous notes and illustrations, comprising literary references and acknow 
ledgments, which will be found interspersed throughout this biography, must 
tend to manifest distrust and hesitancy in forming opinions, and still more in 
resolving controvertible statements. The author has always been of opinion, 
that materials, available for historical investigation, should be employed in 
delineating only truthful pictures and a correct appreciation of the past, 
rather than be produced as mere adjuncts, giving undue prominence to the 
historian s peculiar opinions, prejudices, or prepossessions. And, with some 
slight modification, these remarks will apply to the biographer of eminent 
individuals, whose actions and character illustrate the personality of contem 
poraneous history. We have much to condemn, on the score of partial and 
incompetent writers, who have undertaken to treat matters, relating to 
general, and especially to ecclesiastical, Irish History. Happily, however, 
we have much reason to rejoice, that learned, laborious, and impartial 
investigators have wrought successfully, in various departments of native 
historical and literary enquiry. These have chased away many mists and 
misrepresentations, which had been accumulating through lapse of time, 
owing to various incorrect statements, made by injudicious or incompetent 
historians and antiquaries. While having occasion to lament irretrievable 



PREFACE. v 

losses, sustained by lovers of archaeological researches, from the mutilation 
and total destruction of so many national records, inscriptions, and monu 
ments of past ages ; yet, it is a fortunate circumstance, that very many 
curious manuscripts and memorials have escaped the general wreck, and 
that several material landmarks have survived the ravages of time. These 
greatly tend to elucidate the incidents of distant periods, and to corroborate 
many traditions, which, otherwise, must rest upon rather doubtful authority. 
In no department of archaic research are those evidences more desirable 
and happily better perpetuated than in that of our ecclesiastical Antiquities 
and Biography. 

In compiling the following " Life of St. Brigid/ the author has been care 
ful to consult original authorities, when these were attainable, for nearly all 
his statements. By adopting this practice, throughout, as a development of 
the system on which his biography has been prepared, it will enable readers 
to discriminate, between the authority on which each statement is made, and 
the author s individual opinions, in certain cases. And, in this connection, 
it must be remarked, he would not have :he reader infer, that any degree of 
credence should be attached to such opinions or statements however care 
fully or impartially formed unless these carry with them a sufficient amount 
of evidence or probability, to satisfy the unbiassed judgment of persons, fully 
capable of entering upon a course of strict historical investigation and 
enquiry. 

Our very earliest recollections carry us back to the time, when often we 
were accustomed to gaze on the tall Round Tower of Kildare, and its pile 
of adjoining ruins, which, even in decay, lifted their mysterious battlements 
high over the wide-spreading plains around them, and when, altogether un 
conscious, regarding the hallowed associations of their age and place, in the 
simple character of pilgrim, we could hardly analyse what we saw and felt, 
on the site itself. Those memories, which were awakened within us, when 
we visited for the first time " Kildare s holy fane," were merely the vague im 
pressions of childhood ; but, there remained a curiosity to be gratified with 
growing years, and, more especially, when that veneration, entertained by 
the people for their great Patroness, formed a spell-word of interest and ad 
miration throughout the whole diocese. Nothing then remained, but those 
cold gray ruins, that had no type in the present day, and that dismantled 
aspiring tower, which reared its graceful and yet massive pile, as we 
scanned its hoary, moss-grown walls, to the very highest string-course of 
wonderful masonry. In the midst of present desolation, the glories of the 
past flitted, with the haze and indistinctness of a dream, before our mental 
vision. The local traditions, regarding St. Brigid, were still more tantalizing 
and wonderful. Our after studies, however, served to draw from void and 
obscurity, some glimpses of reality. If the shadows be not wholly dissi 
pated, we have reason to feel gratified and assured, that effort and will shall 
be exercised, by millions of the Irish race, even yet unborn, to become 
familiar with the details of her extraordinary labours, virtues and miracles. 



vi PREP ACE. 

Eloquence, piety, imagination, taste, and genius, will long unite to perpe 
tuate their memory, and to invest with their attractions, the story of St. 
Brigid. This unpretending record, which the writer has here presented, may 
help the reader to some comprehension of a remote period, of social customs 
and manners now become obsolete, of exalted enthusiasm in the practice of 
great and heroic deeds, and of a triumphant success, in the achievement of 
a civilization, which has no abiding force, except when directed and con 
trolled by the Science of the Saints. 



DUBLIN : CHURCH OF SS. MICHAEL AND JOHN, 
Feast of Saint Brigid, iSff. 



I LLUSTR ATION S. 



Page 

Kildare Ruins ... ... ... ... ... IO 

Church Ruins at Foughart, Co Louth ... ... ... 27 

St. Brigid s Well, Faughart ... ... ... ... 31 

Old Church Ruins at Ardagh ... ... ... ... ... 64 

Franciscan Abbey Ruins, at Slane ... .. ... ... 81 

City of Armagh, from the East ... ... ... ... ... 108 

Kilbride, Co. Dublin ... ... ... ... ... 129 

Scattery Island, and Mouth of the Shannon ... ... ... ... 131 

Tullagh Old Church, Co. Dublin ... ... ... ... 144 

Church of the Sacred Heart and of St. Brigid, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare ... 161 

The Grey Abbey, Kildare ... ... ... ... ... 184 

The Old Ruins of Killester ... ... ... ... ... 195 

Church of the Assumption, of St. Michael, of St. Patrick, and of St. Brigid, Wexford 209 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID, 



FIRST ABBESS OF KILDARE, 
SPECIAL PATRONESS OF KILDARE DIOCESE, 

AM) 

(Snueral air0Hjcs$ of 



C H A P T E R 



THE path of a. modern biographer, while treating about the Acts of 
Ireland s great Patroness, is beset with difficulties of a varied nature. 
These arise, owing not so much to a want of materials for his task, as from 
the legendary, conflicting, and oftentimes contradictory accounts, so fre 
quently met with, in several ancient tracts, relative to this holy virgin. 
Occasionally, however, the most exacting investigator of our traditions and 
antiquities will find facts or circumstances, mingled with legendary or irre 
concilable narratives, deserving more than ordinary significance and having 
much historic importance. It can hardly admit of question, how pleasure 
and instruction, derivable from reading the most celebrated epic poems of 
ancient and modern times, should be materially lessened, if presented by 
their authors, in a didactic or an unimaginative style, avoiding the introduc 
tion of mythic episodes and personages, or the use of exaggerated metaphors 
and fancies. We must be ready to allow, that an undercurrent of historic 
truth sometimes sustains a superstructure of mythology, in such poems, and 
that it directs the interest and moral, evolved from poetic imaginings. _ By a 
parity of reasoning although in a widely different sense the truly religious 
and disciplined spirit of an enlightened and a pious Christian will not too 
readily reject various interesting legends, contained in the acts of our na 
tional Saints, when he is free to receive them on the weight, or set them in 
abeyance on the want, of sustaining evidence. Many sceptical or over fasti 
dious critics undervalue the force of popular traditions, and regard such 
attested miracles as incredible or legendary ; but, while those persons desire 
to remove cockle from the field of Irish hagiology, they possibly incur some 
risk, at the same time, of rooting up good seed with the tares. Our Divine 
Redeemer, regarding the existence of good and evil, has already observed, 

B 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



in a most beautiful and instructive parable, " Suffer both to grow until the 
harvest, and in the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers : Gather 
up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye 
into my barn/ " 1 The known application of this parable, respecting the 
sower and the cockle, is obvious to the mind of every well-instructed 
Christian. Without any unnatural perversion of meaning, it may likewise 
apply to topics here introduced, but in a mode somewhat different. A 
multitude of legends will doubtless be found interpolated, among St. Brigid s 
authentic acts and miracles. Such fictions create so much embarrassment, 
in any effort to discriminate truth and error, that it may be regarded as an 
utterly impracticable project, at the present day, to draw in many cases a 
very marked line of distinction. Perhaps, no complete biography can be 
presented to the reader, without running some risk of overloading it with un 
necessary, and frequently with incongruous, matter. It must be observed, 
while depreciating an insertion of fables, as opposed to correct taste and 
sound historic deduction, the plan of this present biography may not warrant 
absolute departure from records left us by ancient writers, however traditional 
and unsatisfactory such accounts hippen to appear; especially, when no 
amount of credit is claimed for their authenticity, but such as may be estab 
lished, by tests of strict evidence, or by the dictates of acute judgment. 
Religious feeling and Christian faith do not require for their preservation 
and growth, the production and publication of many legends, to be found in 
special Acts of our national saints. Those narratives, however, were con 
sonant with a prevalent taste, and with the sentiments of our ancestors, in 
past ages. Even yet, when received with due caution, and with a just, 
discriminating spirit, such legends may be found, not altogether devoid of 
edification, granting their authenticity to be very questionable. A well-re 
gulated mind will regard them, chiefly as emanations of a former period, and 
as illustrations of popular opinion, national feeling or religious impressions, 
which widely prevailed during times, when those narratives had been written. 

Entering upon the subject of our great saint s biography, it will be neces 
sary to premise a few observations concerning its plan and treatment, before 
referring to authorities, on which subsequent statements are made. It is 
the writer s intention, to embody at least the most probable and substantial 
accounts former chroniclers have handed down, regarding this holy virgin, 
according to the best possible chronological order, and most consecutive 
form, consistent with the intricacy of his subject. 

Wherever discrepancies may be detected, in accounts left by various 
writers, those differences are faithfully pointed out, either in the text or in 
its accompanying notes. Again, several disquisitions or comments, not 
claiming the character of being original, in most cases, are usually the result 
of attentive reading or careful enquiry ; while those dissertations are placed, 
according to the writer s best opinion, in their most appropriate position. 
He has also preferred allowing the studious reader s exercise of his own 
sagacity and critical discrimination, rather to test the accuracy of statements 
made, than to assume their solution, where mistakes might so easily be in 
troduced. The author supposes, those authorities quoted so frequently 
must exonerate himself from any necessity for obtruding judgments, often 
liable to be ill-founded. In this life, it was deemed advisable to present 
the fullest and most complete narrative of St. Brigid s Acts, hitherto found in 
the English language. Sensible of those obvious and consequent difficulties 
he must expect to encounter, mistakes are frequently inevitable, while the 



CHAPTER I. St. Matt, xiii., 30. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



writer is almost as certain to incur censure from the learned and critical, for 
its many elaborations and redundancies, as for its numberless defects, and 
unavoidable inaccuracies. 

. Already several elegantly written, and tolerably correct, compendiums of 
Saint Erigid ; s Acts have appeared in an English dress. Many of these are 
most creditable to the literary taste and correct judgment of their respective 
authors. Such publications have supplied an admitted void in our popular 
literature. Still a critical and researchftil life of Ireland s holy Patroness the 
writer chiefly desires to produce; and, however he may disappoint the ex 
pectations of capable students, he cannot conceal from himself the inherent 
difficulties of his task, and the utter impossibility of surmounting them, saving 
with a relative measure of success. That degree of credibility attaching to 
authorities or writers, treating about our great Virgin Saint, should pre-occupy 
the readers mind, at the very start of our enquiry. Impartial opinions and 
exact methods of examination are required, when following die intricate pro 
cess of inductive biographical research, where statements are often liable to 
mislead. In accordance with the general scope and design of this life, its 
authorities must first be given, after an unpretending and a simple arrange 
ment. A brief account of the probable periods when her biographers wrote, 
with their respective opportunities for acquiring information, may prove 
desirable; even though conjecture must be substituted lor more reliable 
knowledge, in regard to several subjects of special importance and enquiry. 

A\ e shall endeavour to enumerate the several ancient writers, who are 
stated to have commemorated St. Urigid s Acts and virtues, so far as known 
to us, while observing that exact chronological order, in which each compiler 
seems to have flourished, or written, or died. It may be premised, that 
nearly all of these writers are Irishmen, and that several are classed among 
our native saints. Among the earliest we must regard St. Eiech, 2 who 
flourished in or about the year 520, the disciple of St. Patrick and first chief 
bishop of Lcinster. He is thought possibly to have composed a hymn in 
praise of St. Prigid.3 One attributed to him, however, seems to indicate, 
that this holy virgin had departed from life, before it had been composed.* 
St. Eiech was her contemporary ; yet, it is strange, we find no allusion to 
him in her Acts. Eiech does not seem to have lived, beyond the year 530.5 



- See his Life at the I2th of October. served. This he says may be instanced, in 

3 It is said to commence with these words : the fourth and fifth lines. Yet, the Latin 
" Audite \ irginis laudes." reader must find, on investigation, that there 

4 In the^ " Leabhur lomaun," or " Book are sixteen syllable* in the.-e lines mentioned, 
of Hymns" now preserved in the Francis- as in most of the other stanzas. There are, 
can Library, Dublin an old scholiast pre- however, five lines which either fall short, 
fixed the following /nw/H; or argument or exceed that number of syllables. Secondly, 
to this hymn, and which may thus be trans- as published by Colgan, the hymn consists 
lated into English. "St. A ennid Lam- of live instead of four strophes. Thirdly, if 
hoidhain, that is, of the Clean Hand, com- -what the scholiast states be true, that the 
posed this hymn in praise of St. Brigid, or words, "Audite Virginia laudes," com- 
St. I-icg ot Sletty ; Audite Virginis menced the hymn, and that there were 
laudes is its beginning : or, St. Ultan of four divisions or parts in it, two of the last 
Ar Ibrecain composed it, in honour of St. must be wanting, and three other strophes, 
Brigid. It comprises St. Brigid s miracles which are placed before these lines, must 
in one book : an alphabetical order is there have been intended as a preface. Or, if we 
preserved, and it is written in imitation of can be sure, that absolutely speaking, there 
Nosearian metre. There are four chapters were only four verses in it, the fifth which 
in it, and four lines in each chapter, with is net found in the St. Magnus manuscript, 
sixteen syllables in each line." Three must be an addition to the original number, 
points mu.it here be noted, Colgan remarks. See " Trias Thaumaturga." Tertia Vita S. 
First, in the hymn he published, the number Brigid a;, n. 80, p. 445. 

of sixteen syllables in each line is not prc- s This Colgan endeavours to show, in hib 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Nearly contemporaneous in point of antiquity, we may regard St. Nmm- 
dius, 6 surnamcd Laimhiohain.? Me is said to have treated on the virtues 
and miracles of St. Brigid. This is the statement of some writers. As her 
chaplain and most intimate friend, he must have had special advantages for 
acquiring information on this subject ; and therefore, a life oi the saint, com 
posed by him, should be regarded as one of inestimable value and authen 
ticity. Vet, Colgan thinks, although 1-iech and Nennidius, in all likelihood, 
wrote something concerning St. Brigid, the hymn in question should ratner 
be attributed to St. Ultan, on account of certain reasons adduced.? St. 
Nennidius, called also Xenius, 10 administered Holy Viaticum to tne illus 
trious virgin, when she died, about A.D. 523, and consequently he flourished 
early in the sixth century. St. Brendan, Bishop of Clonfert, is said to have 
written about the virtues and miracles of St. Brigid. 11 lie flourished, like 
wise, alter her time, and he died on the i6th of May," A.D. 576- ^ St. 
Brogan Cloen, 1 -* of Rostuirk in (J,sory, and who probably flourished m tl 
seventh century, composed an Irish hynm^in praise of St. Bngid. 1 
this various manuscript copies remain. 17 Besides these authors, Cogitosus, 10 
who flourished probably alter the sixth and before the ninth century, wrote a 
celebrated treatise on the life and virtues of St. Brigid. Several manuscript 
copies of this tract are yet to be found. 1 ? Again, the illustrious St. Comm- 
kille 20 Apostle of the Picts and Scots, is thought to have written a hymn 01 
the life, and in praise, of St. Brigid.- He is reputed to have composed it, 23 
nhout A.D. 563, on his passage to Britain. St. Columkille is generally thought 
lo have departed this life, in the year 596.^ 



Fourth Appendix to St. Patrick s Acts, and 
in that Catalogue of authors, who wrote 
biographies of our national Apostle. 

6 See his Life at the 2nd of April. 

7 Believing him to have been Abbot of 
Inis-Muighe-Samh, an island on Lough 
Lrne, Colgan published his Aets in the 
" Acta Sanctorum llibernuc," xviii. Janu- 
arii, pp. Hi to 115. 

8 See Sir James Ware, " De Scriptoribus 
Hibernire," lib. i., cap. i., p. 3. 

> In his notes to St. Brigid s Third Life. 

10 According to the Third, Fourth and 
Fifth Lives of St. Brigid, as published by 
Colgan. 

71 The Scholiast on an Irish hymn, com 
posed in praise of St. Brigid, and which 
begins with the words, "Brigid be bhith- 
maith," doubts as to whether the hymn, in 
question, should be assigned to St. Brendan 
or to St. Columba. But, Colgan supposed, 
it should rather be attributed to St. Co- 
lumba s pen, as well because of a statement 
contained in an Irish Life of Si. Brigid, as 
on account of a cause alleged by the afore 
said Scholiast for composing this hymn, and 
more nearly indicating such a conclusion. 

12 Colgan promised to say more regarding 
him, at that day, when his Life will be 
found in this collection. 

*3 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 208, 209. 

* See his Life at the ijth of September. 
5 That published by Colgan has 53 
stanzas, while one, attributed to this same 
Brogan Cloen, among the Trinity College 



Manuscripts, Dublin, and classed K. 4, 2, 
has only 34 stan/as. 

15 In the vol. xviii., belonging to_ the 
Betham Collection of Manuscripts of the 
Royal Irish Academy, and written by 
Michael O Longan, about the year 1760, 
there is a " Hymnus dc Virtutibus et mira- 
culis SancUe Brigida_> Kilclariensis abbatissa: 
et patronoj," a Sancto Brigano, p. 82. It 
appears to have been copied from Colgan. 

J ? There arc seven quatrains of a poem on 
St. Brigid attributed to St. Brogan, and. 
these are followed by St. Brogan s hymn to 
St. Brigid, published by Colgan, in vol. 
xli., a small 410 paper of the Betham Manu 
script Collection of the Royal Irish Aca 
demy, at p. 143 and p. 144. These are 
written by Mr. Owen Connellan. 

18 This writer is thought to be the St. 
Cogitosus, surnamcd the Wise, whose life 
occurs at the i8th of April. 

: 9 At Eichstaett in Germany, there is a 

copy of the Life of St. Brigid, by Cogitosus. 

" See his Life at the Qlh of June. 

2T Colgan supposed he had not seen any 

of Columba s compositions on this subject, 

except what had already been given through 

a Latin version in his second appendix to 

St. Brigid s Acts (cap. xxiv. ), and which, 

in the original, begins with these words 

" Brigid be bhithmaith." 

~ The Scholiast on this hymn, and an 
Irish life of St. Brigid, attribute its com 
position to St. Columba. 

=3 On the gth day of June. This is shown 
in the fourth appendix to his Acts. Sec 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



St. Ultan, 24 Bishop of Ardhraccan, in Meatb, it is believed, wrote a book 
on the Life of St. Brigid. 25 He also, it is said, composed a hymn, in her 
praise. 25 Colgan has assigned both of these tracts to the third place among 
his various published acts of our saint. 27 This author flourished about A.D. 
580, and he is reputed to have died, at a very old age. on the 4th of Sep 
tember. A.D. 656. 2S St. Aleran, or Aileran, sometimes called Eleran,^ and 
surnamed the Wise, was a president or chief-director over Clonard School, 
in Mcath. He wrote St. Brigid s Life. 30 This is testified by St. Coelan, 
who himself composed metrical acts of St. Brigid. 31 St. Aileran s feast has 
been assigned incorrectly to the nth of August. ">- and his death is set down 
at 664. This year of* mortality, however, seems rather referable to St. 
Aileran the Wise, 3 - whose feast is held on the 2Qth of December. Kilian 
or Coelanus, of Inis-Keltra, 34 composed St. Brigid s Life in verse. 35 This 
forms the sixth and last of her acts, as published by Colgan. 36 In his notes, 
postfixed to this metrical life, 37 the editor attempts to prove that Coelan 
llourished about the end of the seventh or beginning of the eighth century. 33 
Animosus, who appears to have acquired the name Anmchiudh or Anmire, 
among the Irish, is said to have written many books of St. Brigid s acts. 39 
This author, as has been thought, nourished about the year 950. - At a 
period subsequent to the time of writers already named, many others, who 
nourished after the commencement of the twelfth century, wrote her life. 
Among these authors may be enumerated, Laurence of Durham, < r who is 



Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," cap. iv., 
v., vi., pp. 48.5 to 486. 

- 4 Sec his Life at the 4th of September. 

- In Harris Ware, we read, " Cltan 
Mticfonciibar [i.e. O Connor] Bishop of 
Ardbmccaii, collected the Miracles {if St. 
Jlrigid into one volume in alphabetical 
order, from whence an anonymous author, 
~i. !:o 7(77? ///, lif<: cf that rir^in in Terse hath 
taken occasion to preface his Poem with 
these lines : 



Scnpscrnnt vinlti - irttttcs inrginis almce, 



Ultanus Doctor, uttiue Eleranus 



Desoipsit vntltos Animosus nomine libros. 



vita Hi slitdus nr^inis ac mentis. 



ns vrtues many writers paint, 



Ullan the Sage and Eleran the Saint ; 



immortal works 




pay 



The life and merits of the spotless 

maid." 

Vol. ii. "Writers of Ireland," book i., 
chap, iv., p. 30. 

- Stated to have commenced with the 
words: " Audite Virginis laudes." To it, 
allusion has been already made. 

" 7 See " Trias Thaumaturga, pp. 527 to 

545- 

- 8 See Ur. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 268, 269 and n. 
(d), ibid. In the " Chronicum Scotorum," 
edited by William M. Hennessy, his death 
is placed at A.D. 653, which is tlie year 657, 
according to O Flaherty. Sec, pp. 94, 95, 
and n. 7, by the editor. 



- See his Life at the 291!) of December. 

See Sir fames Ware, " De Scriptoribus 
Iliberni.e," lib. i., cap. iii., \>. 2~J. 

: 1 See l. ssher, " De I riinordiis Britanni- 
carum Ecclesiarum," p. 1007. 

- See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Sexta Vita S. Biigid;i>, n. 6, p. 598, and 
Appendix Tertia ad Acta S. Brigida. , pp. 
609, 610. This seems to confound him witli 
St. Aircr.ni or Lrerau of Tyfarnhani in 
Westmeath. 

See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters, vol. i., pp. 276, 277. 

u See hi. Life at the 2u.th of July. 

= Tliis has been edited by Father John 
1 oland, ia "Ada Sanctorum Februarii," 
tomus i. Vila iii. S. JJrigidix-, vir.;., pp. 
141 to 155. 

" J See "Trias Thaumaturga. Sexta 
Vita S. llrigida 1 , pp. 582 to 590. 

] ~ A manuscript copy of this metrical life, 
kindly presented by William Eassie, Esq., 
High Orchard House, Gloucester, England, 
is in the writer s possession. 

;S See ibid., nn. 1,2, 3, pp. 596 to 598. 

In a prologue, prefixed to St. Coe- 
lan s m. .rical life, and published by Colgan, 
allusion is made to the three last named 
writers of St. Brigid s Acts. See "Trias 
Thaumaturga." Sexta Vita S. Brigidse, p. 
582. 
4J Sec ibid. Vita (Juarta S. Brigidre, n. 

i. P- 53- 

-* An English Benedictine. He died 
about 1149. Besides St. Brigid s life, lie 
wrote a Scriptural history, in Nine Books 
and in Latin elegiac verses. It bore the 
title of " Hypognosticon." He also com- 



LIFE OF ST. BRTGTD. 



said to have composed St. Brigid s biography, about the year 1150, and in a 
superior style of Latinity, not commonly attempted during that age in which 
he lived. 42 

The most complete series of St. Brigid s ancient Acts has been already 
published by our national hagiographer, Father John Colgan. 4 3 These Acts 
he has admirably arranged and annotated. With certain modifications of 
opinion and comment, we shall briefly review them in his order. 44 

The first of Colgan s Brigidine Lives is that Irish poem, ascribed to St. 
Brogan 45 of Rosstuirc, in Ossory. 46 This, according to one inference, had 
been written about the beginning of the sixth century, 47 soon after St. 
Brigid s death, if we credit the scholiast s statement. 43 However, if St. 
Ultan 4 ^ of Ardbraccan advised Brogan to compose it as the same authority 
states its production is thought to be more properly referable to the seventh 
century. 50 The second is her life, by Cogitosus, 51 who is incorrectly consi 
dered to have been a nephew and contemporary of the holy Virgin. 52 It 
would appear, even from a passage in the Prologue to this Life, 53 how that 
Prelate of Kildare, at the time its author wrote, was Archbishop over the 
Leinster province, 54 while many bishops had preceded him in rule, since this 
See of Kildare had been first ruled by Conlaeth. 55 That this work had been 
written, before the removal took place of St. Brigid s relics to Down, 56 and 



posed "Consolatio pro morte Amici," in 
Latin verse, with some other poetical pieces. 
.See S. Austin Allibone s " Critical Dic 
tionary of English Literature," &c., vol. ii., 
p. 1064. 

42 Colgan has published it, as the fifth 
among his acts of St. Brigid. In an ap 
pended note, the editor states, this author 
died about A.D. 1160. See "Trias Thau 
maturga, " p. 639. 

43 No less than six different Lives of St. 
Brigid has he comprised in the "Trias 
Thaumaturga, " extending from p. 513 to p. 
598. Then follow five elaborate Appen 
dices, and an Epilogue, specially referring 
to this Virgin s Acts, pp. 599 to 640. A 
Summary of her Acts is likewise given, pp. 
654 to 658, besides other allusions to her, 
in the general Indices. 

44 It will be understood, that when subse 
quently alluding to the numerical order of 
St. Brigid s Lives, we are referring solely to 
Colgan s arrangement. 

45 Most likely, it is said, this Poem of his 
had been written as an Elegy, immediately 
on receipt of intelligence, regarding St. 
Brigid s death. 

46 Near Slieve Bloom Mountains. 

"7 He is said to have composed it in the 
time of Oilill, or Ailikl, son of Dulaing, 
King of Leinster, and whose deach is re 
corded in Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Eour Masters," at A.D. 526. Vol. i., pp. 
174, 175- 

48 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Prima S. Brigidne. Prrefacio Veteris 
Anonymi, p. 515. Her death is usually 
placed between the years 518 and 525, by 
the greater number of those, who have 
written her Acts. 



49 According to Ussher, he died A.D. 657. 
See " Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Anliqui- 
tates." Index Chronologicus, p. 539. 

50 Ultan is placed in that age, by Sir 
James Ware. See " DC Scriptoribus 
Hibernise." Lib. i. cap. iii., pp. 22, 23. 

51 Canisius had previously published a 
version of it in " Antiquie Lectiones." 
Tomus v. 

52 By Messingham, who has given this 
Life a place in " Florilegium Insult Sanc 
torum." 

5J The version of St. Brigid s Life, by 
Cogitosus, which Colgan has published, was 
prepared especially from a Manuscript be 
longing to the Monastery of St. Hubert, 
and from a Codex belonging to the Monas 
tery of St. Amand both houses probably 
were situated in Belgium or Northern 
France. The version, issued by Canisius 
and Messingham, Colgan found to be very full 
of errors, and therefore he corrected several, 
especially using the St. Amand copy, 
although he did not quite restore the text to 
his perfect satisfaction. He also subdivided 
the Life into a more convenient number of 
chapters, than he had previously found 
existing. 

54 From the following passage in a Pro 
logue to this Life, we read : " Quam sem 
per Archiepiscopus Hiberniensium Episco- 
porum, et Abbatissa, quam omnes Abbatissse 
Scotorum venerantur, felici successione, et 
ritu perpetuo dominantur." Cogitosus or 
"Secunda Vita S. Brigidae," p. 516. 

53 His Festival occurs at the 3rd of May. 
3 J This transfer happened, in Colgan s 

opinion, before or about the middle of the 
ninth century. See " Trias Thaumaturga," 
n. 14, pp. 565, 566. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



before those ravage?." caused by the Danes or even by Irish princes 53 in 
Kildare, cannot be disputed. 5 ? Various manuscript copies of Cogitosus 
work 60 have been preserved in different libraries. 61 Not the least allusion 
occurs in it to Kildare s having been ever destroyed, or to the spoliation of 
St. Brigid s and St. ConlaetlVs shrines, which he represents as being very 
splendid and very rich. From his statement, likewise, that the city of Kil 
dare and its suburbs were places of safety and refuge, in which there could 
not be the least apprehension of any hostile attack, 62 the canons of historic 
criticism seem to place the authorship of this tract, at some time before the 
commencement of the ninth century. 

The Third Life of St. Brigid. as published by Colgan, is attributed to St. 
Ultan of Ardbraccan by the editor ; although such a supposition has been 
contravened by other judicious critics. On the authority of some false 
genealogies, it is thought St. frigid was sister to St. Ultan of Arc! P>reccain. 
It was this Ultan, who, according to another statement, collected the virtues 
and miracles of Brighit together, and who commanded his disciple Brogan to 
put them into poetry. 63 This is said to be evident from the Book of Hymns, 
i.e. " The victorious -* Brighit did not love. ovc. While comparing the 
Third with the First. Second, Fourth and Fifth Lives of St. Brigid," 5 it will 
be found, that many particulars there related concerning her are not con 
tained in those last-mentioned tracts. 66 Again, the number of divisions it 



7 Thc^c are not known to have commen 
ced, before the ninth reiitury, and the first 
ivcord of the foreigners having plundered 
rmd burned Kildare is referred to A.D. 835 
in Dr. (> Donovan s "Annals of the Four 
Masters," vol. i.. pp. 452, 45;,. 

- * In 831, Kil Lire was plundered by 
Ceallaeh, sun of Bran, and again in 855 by 

" 



Feidhlimidh. See Dr. O Donovan s 

nals of the Four Masters, 1 vol. i., pp. 446, 

,;-, 452. 45;. 

?/ In his notes to the foregoing passage, 
Colgan remark^, it is not to be understood, 
the bishop of Kildare was Archbishop over 
nil Ireland, but that he only presided over 
the Leiiister province. Nor did Kildare 
always claim the dignity of being a Metro 
politan See. For, St. F iech, bishop of 
Hetty, St. Patrick s disciple, at a previous 
period, was styled Archbishop of I.< j in>ter. 
This Colgan intended to show, in his Acts, 
which were to have been published, at the 
I 2th of ( >ctober. After his time, the metro- 
political seat is said to have been translated 
from Sletty to Kildare. This seems to be 
manifest from the foregoing passage. F rom 
Kildare it passed ; Ferns, as asserted in 
notes to the Life of St. Maidoc, at the 3ist 
of January, and as promised to be shown, 
in those, to be attached to St. Moling s 
Life, at the Ijtli of June, as also to St. 
Molua s Acts, at the 4th of August. 
Thence it afterwards returned to Kildare. 
See Ussher s " Bi itannicarum Lcclesiarum 
Antiquitates," cap. xvii., p. 449. 

60 From MSS-. Cameracen. \\ibling. Tre- 
vcrens., it has been printed in the Bollandists 
" Acta Sanctorum," tomus i., Februarii i., 
Vita ii. S. Brigidae, pp. 135 to 141. It was 



edited from a MS., belonging to Preudhome, 
a Canon of Arras, collated also with MSS. 
belonging to " Monasteriorum S. Maximini, 
T revcri>, \Viblingensis in Suevia, Bodicensis 
in Westphalia, cumque e ditimibus Cani^ii e 
MS. Aistadiano, ct foannis Colgani ex 
MSS. S. Ilubrrtiet S. Amandi." 

61 Among these may be noticed : Vita 
S. Brigida-, MS. Bod I. . Fell. } ff. 108 116 
b. veil, fol xi. cent. Also MS. Bil.l. Valli- 
cellan. ap. Roniam., Tom. xxi., If. 203-207, 
fol. veil. xi. cent. 

b - Thus he writes " nullus carnalis adver 
saries, nee concursus timetur hostium." See 
Secunda Vita S. Brigida\ cap. xxxv., p. 524, 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 

6) Could we only trust imp icitly this 
statement of the O Clery s Calendar, St. 
Ultan s or St. Brogan s Life of St. Brigid 
must be the most authentic and valuable of 
all her biographies. 

4 In a note by Dr. Todd, he says, at this 
passage, "This is the first line of the metri 
cal life of St. Brigid, published from the 
Book of Hymns, by Colgan ; Tnas 77iaittn., 
p. 515." 

-~ In Colgan s work, where such differ 
ences may be noticed. 

66 Dr. Lanigan writes in his "Ecclesias 
tical History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., 
iii., n. 38, p. 388. "This Life was, I 
suspect, patched up in the diocese of Ardagh, 
and very probably in an island of Lough 
Kie called the Island of All Saints, in which 
Augustin Magraiden lived, who, having 
compiled Lives of Irish Saints, died A.D. 
1405 (Ware s Writers). Colgan got one of 
his copies ot it from the monastery of that 
place." 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGW. 



comprises exceed those in the Fourth Life, by about twenty-three chapters. 6 ? 
Its excess seems established in point of matter, if not in regard to substantial 
accuracy. Colgan was indebted to Father Stephen White 63 for the reception 
of that MS. published afterwards as the Third- Life 6 J with other erudite 
communications. White thought, that the author of this Third life must 
have been either St. Virgil, 7 or St. Erard, 71 who were Irishmen. 72 This 
Ratisbonne MS., we are told, had been written in Irish characters, and as 
supposed, in the tenth or eleventh century. 73 A fifth MS. copy of the 
Third Life was extant. 74 The editor of St. Brigid s Third Life, however, 
could not agree with Stephen White, that its authorship was attributable to 
either of the Saints named by him. 75 The Bollandists 76 have published the 
Life of our Saint attributed to St. Ultan, from a manuscript codex, belonging 
to the Church of St. Omer. Some manuscript copies of it are yet preserved 
at Oxford. 77 That St. Ultan wrote the Acts of St. Brigid, is asserted by 
Colgan, on authority of Ussher, 73 Ware, an author of her life in Irish, and a 
certain Scholiast. 80 The editor also maintains, that the life written was 
identical with that published by him, 81 owing to the probability of some 
metrical lines appended being composed by the same author. c - In the St. 



7 This is Colgan s statement. Yet, it 
must refer, not to the relative numerical 
divisions of chapters, but to additional mat 
ter in the Third Life. 

68 This learned Irish Jesuit was well 
versed in the Antiquities of his native coun 
try. 

69 The original manuscript was an old 
codex, belonging to the monastery of St. 
Magnus, at Ratisbonn, in Bavaria. This 
tract Colgan accompanied with various 
marginal annotations and readings. These 
were partly taken from a M.S., belonging to 
the monastery of St. Autbert, at Cambray, 
and partly from a MS., preserved at the 
Island of all Saints, in Ireland. The Cam- 
bray MS. had been furnished by D- Georgeus 
Colvenerius, who was distinguished for his 
research and love of antiquities ; and beside; 
the All Saints MS., received from Longford 
County in Ireland, Colgan obtained another 
MS. from the Carthusian collection at 
Cologne. 

" His Festival occurs on the 271)1 of 
November. 

7 1 His Feast is assigned to the Sth of 
January. 

? 2 These flourished in Bavaria, during tl it- 
eighth century. 

" The Trinity College Manuscript classed 
E. 4, 10 contains, "Vita et Legenda S. 
Brigidrc Virginis." Ussher supposes this 
to have been the Life of St. Brigid, written 
by St. Ultan of Ardbraccan. It includes, 
also, various readings on. the margins, copied 
from a more copious old MS., belonging to 
the monastery of St. Magnus, tenanted by 
the Canons regular of St. Augustine, at 
Ratisbon in Bavaria. 

" 4 This belonged to Dunensis monastery 
in Flanders. Colgan adds, that we may 
fairly infer the author must have lived at a 



very remote period, when most of the copies 
known had been traced more than five hun 
dred years before his own time, while some 
were more than seven hundred years old. 

75 Colgan s reason is chiefly a negative 
one, ? !:., because no writer or author had 
heretofore stated his having compiled her 
biography. 

J See Ada Sanctorum," tomus L, 
Febraarii i., Vita 1 rima Brigidre, pp. nS 
to 135. 

" 7 Among these arc: \ita S. Brigiclse, 
MS. Bodl. Rawl., B. 505, pp. 193-207, fol. 
veil. xiv. cent. A similar life in MS. Bodl. 
Rawl., B. 485, f. 134, veil. 4to. xiv. cent., 
is extant. 

78 See " De Primordiis Ecclesiarum Bri- 
tannicarum," p. 1067. 

; -> See " De Scriptoribus Ilibernice," lib. 
i., cap. iii., pp. 22, 23. 

" - While it is admitted, by Dr. Lanigan, 
that Ultan of Ardbraccan wrote something 
concerning St. Brigid, this learned historian 
will not allow either him or any other wri 
ter of the seventh century, to have recorded 
the many strange fables, with which it is 
crammed. This work he designates as "a 
hodge-podge, made up at a late period, in 
which it is difficult to pick out any truth, 
from amidst a heap of rubbish." It also 
differs from the two former tracts, in some 
material points. See " Lcclesiastical His 
tory of Ireland," vol. i. , chap, viii., n, 
n. 18, p. 380. 

Sl This conclusion is supposed to be fur 
ther warranted, by the usual clause, "Ex 
plicit Vita S. Brigickx ," postfixed to the life 
of a Saint coming after, and not before that 
Hymn, found in the St. Magnus MS., as 
written many ages before Colgan s time. 

s - In the opinion of White, Colvenerius 
and Ward. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGW. 



Autbert MS., the Life comes after a "carmen/" 33 which follows the Hymn. 
Although the author does not give us his name, he nevertheless reveals him 
self as being from the Island Hibernia, and of Irish origin.-^ After the last 
words, in a life of our sainted Virgin, the author first places her proper 
Latin Hymiv 5 and then having completed the Latin lines, he pours forth 
prayers to St. Erigid thus piously invoking her intercession, in the Irish 
idiom and character. These circumstances are somewhat remarkable. 86 
That St. Ultan was its author, and consequently composer of the Third Life, 
seems to be established, 8 ? from certain remarks of an old Scholiast, ^ on the 
same Hymn. Lven although the Scholiast doubts, whether St. Xennidius, 
St. Fiech, or St. L ltan, be its author, his very words are thought conclusive, 
in showing this latter to be the writer, both of the Life and of the Hymn ; 
since, he is said to have composed both one and the other, in praise of St. 



1 ; This piece is headed "Carmen do 
eadem (Scil. S. I .rigida) ex MSS. Autberti." 
Its lines are in Latin, ot which we present 
the following English vcrv -r.i : 



]!rigid s great name, our love with light 
entwines. 

A Virgin of the Lord, without, within, 

i urc was her soul, preserved from stains 
of sin. 

A Virgin of the Lord, dear brethren, she 

1 )ead to the world and pride, for Heaven 
was free. 

Despised she Heeling honours, wealth and 
pleasures, 

She .sought eternal joys, exhaustless trea 
sures. 

Then shield us from that future fate we 
dread, 

When the l.i^t Trumpet wakes the buried 
dead, 

Virgin, loved by God, bless d and be 
nign, 

O hear thy clients prayers, nor cease to 
oii er thine." 

See Colgan s "Tria; Thaumaturga," Tertia 
Vita S. lingid.e, p. 542, and nn. Sj, 85, 
p. 545, li i.L 

h4 This is indicated, in the fn>t line. 
Colgan says, the Hymn which he published 
was found in that IrUh -MS., commonly 
called the Lcabhur Jsinann, and in Latin, 
" Liber Hymnorum, by our national anti 
quaries. In this MS. were also contained 
many Hymns, composed by different Irs:i 
Saints. From it, Colgan obtaine i the 1: -t 
line, which was wanting in the St. Magnus 
MS. 

*- It has been concluded, that as no 
authority states St. Xennidius or St. l- iecli 
to have written St. lirigid s Acts in a book, 
and as it could be shown from written and 
from other sources, that St. Ultan wrote her 
Acts in one book, and also a Hymn in her 
praise ; it would seem, this latter mu-t have 
been the author of St. Brigid s Third Life, 



publi>hcd by Colgan, with the melrical lines 
po>tli\e 1, and th.it he- was composer, both 
of the prose life and of the Hymn. See 
il/iJ., n. So, p. 545. 

:0 This metrical composition is headed, 
" Ilymnus de Brigida \ irgine." The lines 
run in Latin ; but we have ventured to ren 
der them in the following Lngli-h version:- 

Those Signs, \\hereby her wond rous 

pow r was known 
To men, in our Hibernian Lie, were 

shown ; 
Excelling through great virUies, beamed 

on earth 
The da\vning promise- of her heavenlv 

birth. 
Not miglity llrigid s fame, this humble 

vcr-e 

Can fitly celebrate, nor half rehearse, 
( Hir X irgin, type of Mary, myriads found 
Lager to prai-c, and hear her triumphs 

sound. 
She girt around her, day and night, the 

/.one 
Of cha-te de-ires ; she read and prayed 

alone ; 
She vigil spent ; as the bright sun on 

high 

Her radiance warm d the earth, and hll d 
the sky. 

Hear ye the Virgin s praise! her gifts 
proclaim ! 

The victor s garland twines around that 
name. 

No void her words and acts e er left be 
tween 

"Whose vows to Christ were pledg d u:.d 
to Ileav n s Queen. 

lie gracious then, O sainte 1 frigid, five 

From earthly toils, our pray rs ascend to 
thee ; 

Obtain for us, from God, of good the 
giver, 

Th j Angel s crown of re 4 and joy for 
ever." 

" Tn Colgan s opinion. 

These comments are given in a note. 



TO 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID, 



Brigid, and both were contained in one book. 8 ? Now, it is not rightly 

known, that St. Ncnnidius or St. Fiech wrote a life of St. Brigid, whether in 

one tract, or in more 

than one part. St. 

Ultan surnamed 

likewise Mac 

Concubar bishop 

of Ardbraccan, in 

Meath, is reputed 

to have been St. 

Brigid s relative,? 

on her mother s 

side.? 1 Ware treats 

about him and his 

writings. 9 2 

The Fourth Life 
of our saint, as pub 
lished by Colgan,3 
and by this latter 
writer attributed to 
Animosus or Anim- 
chad, 04 is contained 
in two books. 95 The 
editor of this Trea 
tise says, the Latin 
ized form of Ani 
mosus name is not 
easily recognisable 
as an Irish one, al 
though its vernacu 
lar interpretation be 
com m o n . T h i s 
Latin form, how 
ever, can easily be 
resolved into the 
name Anmchadh or 
Anamchodh. This 




Kildare Ruin? 



89 The Scholiast even cites a portion of 
one line, taken from this Hymn, and which 
.agrees with what Colgan has published. 

90 Ussher writes, that he was descended 
from the Conchabar or O Conor family, to 
whom belonged, also, Brodsechain, daughter 
to Dallbronaig, and the mother of St. Brigid. 
This is given on the authority of a certain 
Scholiast in an Irish hymn composed in 
praise of Brigid. Some, however, attribute 
this to St. Columkille, who lived in the time 
of King Aed, son to Ainmirech : while others 
ascribe it to Ultan, Bishop of Ardbrechan, 
who flourished in the time of the two sons 
of Aed Slane. See " De Primordiis Brita- 
nicarum Ecclesiarum. " p. 965. 

91 Hence, we do not find this relationship 
shown in the Pedigrees of St. Brigid, on the 
father s side, as given by Dr. Todd in " St. 



Patrick, Apostle of Ireland," appendix A, 
pp. 247 to 255. 

92 See " De Scriptoribus Hibernia;," lib. 
i. , cap. iii. , pp. 22, 23. 

93 Sec " Trias Thaumaturga." Quarta Vita 
S. Brigidoe, pp. 54610563. Appended notes, 
pp. 563 to 566. 

94 St. Coelan, or his prologuist, enume 
rates Animosus, among various writers of 
St. Brigid s Acts. This is asserted in the 
following verses : 

" Descripsit multos Animosus nomine libros 
De vita, et studiis Virginis, ac meritis," 
&c. 

See ibid., p. 563. Also, " Sexta Vita S. 

Brigidse," p. 582. 

35 These comprise, with a Prologue, in the 

First Book 52, in the Second Book 100 

in all 152 chapters. As published in the 



I.TFE OF ST. BRTGTD. 



IT 



has been applied to various Irish saints of the olden time. To pass over 
others, there was a venerable and pious man. who died in the year 980. 9 6 
He is called Anmchadh, Bishop of Kildare. This prelate is said to have 
departed at an advanced age, after the course of his virtuous life in this 
world had been completed. ^ 7 It has been maintained, 93 that until some other 
fairer objections be advanced, these following reasons should lead us to con 
clude, this Anmchadh or Animosus was author of our saint s Fourth Life. In 
the first place, circumstances of name and locality favour such a conclusion, 
as no one could more appropriately or justly manifest his reverence and de 
votion towards St. Bridget, than a native of Kildare, especially when he was 
either a prelate or a monk. As it is related, an Animosus wrote St. Brigid s 
Acts, and as a certain prelate of Kildare bore that name, to what other Ani 
mosus than he can we more probably assign the performance of such a task? 
Again, it must be added, the author of this Fourth Lite often insinuates, that 
he was a monk or prelate of Kildare, and in a Prologue to it, he addresses 
certain brethren." It has been concluded, 100 there-tore, that he must have 
been a monk or an abbot, before he became bishop of Kildare, 101 in accord 
ance with a usage, common to his age and country. In the next place, the 
author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life indicates, that he lived so late as the tenth 
century, at which period Anmchod of Kildare flourished. 102 Yet, there are 
reasons, also, that can be advanced for a different opinion. The author of 
this Fourth Life appears to have written only two books of St. Brigid s Acts ; 
whereas, Animosus is said to have written her Acts in several books. This 



Trias Thaumaturga, " however, 22 of these 
chapters are wanting in the I- irst Book. See 
" Ouarta Vita S. Brigida-," III), i. p. 547. 

- See O Donovan s Annals of the Four 
Masters," vol. ii. , pp. 712, "i; v The e litor 
corrects the date 980 by the words, "[nr/t- 
<jM.J" See aKo n. (y), // /,/. 

- Colon s Copy of the Four Masters add*, 
that he died " in loco, que Kenntar appella- 
Uir. The latter clause seems to he omitted 
in Mr. O Doiiovan s copy. "( (nines fere 
Hibernia- pr.vlati ex Mouaehis assumeban- 
tur." Ser Giraldus Cambrcnsis, Opera, 
vol. v. Topographia 1 1 ibernica, Dist. iii., 
cap. x\ix. Edition by James F. Dimock, 
M.A. 

^ By Colgan. The town of Kildare has 
yet many interesting vestiges of its former 
religious establishments. The accompany 
ing engraving, which represents one of these 
ruins, has been executed by Mrs. Millard, 
from a photograph of Frederick \V. Mare-, 
Dublin. 

w This Preface runs as follows: " My 
mind, brethren, is filled with three emotion--, 
viz., of love, of shame, and of fear. Love 
urges me to write in documents a life of the 
illustrious Brigid, lest that great abundance 
of virtues, which God s grace conferred on 
her, or the many miracles accomplished 
through her, should be hidden and unheard. 
I feel prevented through shame, lest, as I 
suppose, my very plain discourse or poor 
judgment, maydisplease my educated readers 
or hearers. Yet, my fear is still greater, for 
my weakness of mind in the composition of 



such a work presents a danger : since, I dread 
the taunts of critics and enemies tasting my 
very small intellectual viands. Hut, as the 
l,..;"-d ordered His poor to offer little gifts, 
when abniu to build Ilis tabernacle, ought 
\\eiiut give ours to build up His church ? 
What is she but a congregation of the just ? 
How is a prudent life formed, unless through 
the examples and records of the prudent? 
Therefore -hall I give a lir-t place to love, I 
shall trample on shame, and I shall tolerate 
the carpers. I adjure you, O wise reader 
and intelligent hearer, that you overlook the 
text arrangement ; and consider only the 
miracles of God and of His blessed hand 
maid. Indeed, every husbandman should 
be fed on the fruits drawn Irom the furrows 
of his own held." 

1 l!y Colgan. 

IJI The " Vita S. Brigida-," by an anony 
mous author, and Irom a Manuscript belong 
ing to Hugh Ward, has been printed by 
Father John Boland in the " Acta Sancto 
rum," tomus i, Februarii i. Vita iv., 
Fipartita S. Brigido-, pp. 155 to 172. Usher 
oft Mi cites it as the anonymous or inedited 
Life in two books. The author lived before 
1152. See Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy s 
" Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating 
to the Historyol Great Britain and Ireland," 
vol. i., part i. , pp. 108, 109. The writer 
is supposed to be Animosus, by Colgan. 

"- ; See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Quarta Vita "S. Brigida , n. i., pp. 563. 
Also, Harris Ware, vol. ii., " Writers of 
Ireland," Book i., chap, iv., p. 37. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID, 



occurred, before the time in v.-liich St. Coelan, or at least the author of that 
prologue to his metrical acts of our saint, wrote. No\v, Colgan thinks St. 
Coelan wrote St. Brigid s Acts previous to A.D. 8oo 3 In such hypothesis, 
it is supposed, that Animosus, who wrote St. Brigid s Acts, must be distin 
guished from Animosus or Animchadh, who died A.D. 980. Again, the Irish 
word, Anmire, seems to have an identical meaning with Animosus. At least 
four Anmires are enumerated among the saints of Ireland : T. Anmire of 
Alech, 10 -* 2. Anmire of Cluanfoda, 105 3. Anmire of Ros-hua Chonna, 106 4. 
Anmire of Rath-nuadha, 10 ? It may be argued, that some one of the forego 
ing, or another person, bearing the same name, different from the Animchod, 
who died in 980. had been the author of St. Brigid s Acts. The matter re 
mains, not yet fully determined. But the author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life, 
whoever he may be, is deemed trustworthy. 103 Although he flourished at a 
comparatively late period, and wrote in a rude style, his Acts relate, in a more 
copious and comprehensive manner, than any other writer s, almost all St. 
Brigid s transactions. Also, he gives many particulars, concerning the anti 
quities of Ireland, which, for the most part, are either omitted or obscurely 
related, by other biographers. I0 9 The Fifth of St. Brigid s Lives, as published 
by Colgan, was taken from a Manuscript belonging to the Irish College at 
Salamanca 110 Although containing fewer Acts and miracles of St. Brigid, 
than most of her other Lives ; yet, this biography, making allowance for 
many fables, 111 surpasses most of them in elegance and correctness of style, 
as also in its more systematic and complete arrangement. 112 For these 
reasons, it seems more suited for reading in the refectories of religious com 
munities. It came into Colgan s hands, in an imperfect state; 1 3 yet, he 
thought, that not more than the first, and a part of its second chapter, had 
been wanting. 114 The editor endeavoured to supply such missing portions 
in that distinctive character, known as the Italic ; while special titles are pre 
fixed by him to the several chapters, and placed in the margin. He thinks 
there can be no question about the author being Laurence of Durham. " ;; 
This, it is supposed, can be shown, from the elegant style, nationality of 
authorship, and the period, in which it had been written ; for, in the second 
chapter, its author indicates his being an Englishman, and that he composed 
this life, after the Normans came to England. He likewise wrote it before 
the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. Now, as he flourished after the year 
1065 - 1 6 about which date the Norman conquest of England commenced 

103 This he endeavours to show, in his notes to 185. 

to "Sexta Vita S. Bngido.-," mi. I, 2, 3, pp. IIj As this Manuscript was acephalous, its 

596 to 598, "Trias Thaumaturga. " author s name had not been found prefixed. 

104 His feast is celebrated on the loth of "* The following MSS. conies of this life 
June. are exlant : Vita S. Brigidiv, auctore Lau- 

10 5 This saint is commemorated on the rentio Dunelmensi, MS. Salmanticensis, 
1 5th of September. published by Colgan and Bollandus. JJefi- 

l( : > His festival occurs on the 25th of Sep- ciencies in this may be supplied from the 

tember. following copies in Latin : Vita S. Brigittae 

In 7 This saint s feast is held on the 2oth of Virginis a Latirentio Dunelmensi. MS. 

November. Bodl. Laud. Mis. 668 (1052) 106. veil. 410 

03 Such is Colgan s expressed opinion. XII. cent. Again, S. Briguke Vita per Lau- 

I0 5 So far as came under Colgan s observa- rentium Dunelmensem, proevia Epistola ad 

lion. Kthelredum Dispensatorem. MS. Coll. 

" Therefore it is called by him the Sala- Balliol. ccxxvi. f. 86-94. veil. fol. dble. eol. 

mancan Manuscript. XIII. cent. Tanner refers to both of these 

111 See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical copies in his " Bibliothcca," p. 472. 
History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. 1! ^ This writer is known to have flourished 
ii., n. 18., p. 381. about the year 1140, and he wrote a singu- 

112 This Life has been printed in the Bol- larly learned and eloquent Life of St. Brigid 
lanclists " Aela Sanctorum," tomus i., Feb- complete, in one book. 

niarii i., Vita v., S. Brigidie Virg. pp. 172 " 6 Dr. Lingard assigns the battle of Hast- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



and prior to the 1171."" when the English invasion of Ireland began ; it 
appears probable enough, that the author of St. Brigid s Fifth Life must have 
been the aforesaid Laurence of Durham. The Sixth Life of St. Brigid," 8 is 
along poem, written in Latin Hexameter verse. The editor supposes St. 
Cholian or Coelan, a monk of Inis-Keltra monastery, on the Shannon, to 
have been its author. 11 It was published from an old Manuscript, belonging 
to the library of Monte Cussino, and it had been collated, with a copy taken 
Irom the Vatican library, as also with various other Manuscript exemplars. 
In the first note, post-fixed to our Saint s Sixth Life, we are told, that over 
three months before, when Colgan had begun passing St. Brigid s Acts 
through the press, he received from the Rev. Lather Bernard Lgan, 1 - a certain 
fragment of this biography. 1 - 1 A prologue is prefixed, commencing with 
" Fimbus occiduis. CMC. Tins latter is supposed to have been a composition 
of St. Donatus. 1 -- IJishop of Fcsule. in Tuscany. 1 -- 5 and who flourished in the 
ninth centurv. But. the life itself was marked, as having been written by a 
monk of Iniskeltra, in Lough Derg, and who was named Chihen. This 
writer Colgan conjectures to have been the same as Coelan of Iniskeltra, who 
was known in the eighth century. liut, with much apparent truth. 1 - 3 this 
fragment has been referred to a later period, in which it is suspected ils 
author lived. Dr. Lanigan believes, that if Chilieii lived in the eighth cen 
tury, 1 - 1 it must have been in the latter part : although this historian does not 
think it worth while, to enter upon a long discussion regarding him. 1 - ? 

Having received this Sixth Life, from the Cassiman MS., anil through 
the xealous Father already mentioned, three other counterpart copies of 
these same Acts were procured. One copy came from the Vatican Library, 
one from the Library of his Imminence Anthony Barberini, and a third wa^ 
sent by the celebrated Franciscan Father, Luke Wadding. All these copies 



ings to the I4th of October, A. i>. lot xi. Se\ 
"History ot England," vol. i., chap, vi., p. 
509. 

" Henry II. landed at Waterford on the 
iSth of October, A. i>. 1171. See Kcv. fohn 
( I llunlon s " Catechism of Irish lli.-tury," 
Lesson xiii., ]). 1 io. 

11 As published liy Colgan. 

IJ In 1 Ian is \\are, Chaelian or Coelan, 
,\ monk of the Abbey of Ini.--Keitra, in the 
iiiocc.>e of Kdlaioe, an 1 who \\mte the I. lie 
ot St. Bn.;id 111 verse, is said to have been a 
contemporary with .Fngus Mac-Tiprait, who 
died 745. The festival of this Chiiicti is 
assigned to the 291)1 ol July in o .;r domestic 
Martyrologies. 

lie was a licnedicthic Abbot and an 
Irishman. 

- It commences \\ith the.-e ver.-es : 
" Quadam forte die sanctus 1 atricius alnuis 

C lemma sacerdotum synodali carmine 

scdit, iv.c. 

From a hurried reading, it was thensupposed, 
that the poem in question began -with these 
lines, anil Colgan stateil as much in the com 
mon preface to St. lirigid s Acts. But he 
afterwards discovered his mistake, when this 
holy virgin s five fir>t lives had been printed. 

-- See his Life at the 22nd of October. 

- 1 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Quinta Appendix ad Acta S. 1 atricii, cap. 
xx., p. 255. 



Dr. I.anig.in think-;, that t!ie circum 
stance of Chilien calling the mother of St. 
J>rigid a countess seems to indicate a com 
paratively late period for this composition. 

-"Speaking about Donat, Bishop of 
Ficsolc, who Nourished in the ninth century, 
Harris observes : "He seems also to have 
been the author of a Description of Ireland, 
in Hexameter and Pentameter verse; or 
rather the Life oi St. Urigid, containing a 
Description of Ireland, of which Colgan 
hath given as a fragment, which is prefixed 
also as a prologue to the Life of St. lirigid, 
suppo-cd to be written by St. Chaelan." 
See Harris "Ware, "Writers of Ireland, 
vol. ii., chap. iv. , p. 47, and chap, vi., 

! 57- 

- J I his Chilien, whether author or not of 
both the prologue and Life as stated in his 
"Trias Thaumaturga," Sexta Vita S. 
Hrigido:, mi. i, 2, 3, p. 507 was, in Col- 
gan s opinion, the same a.-> Coelan of hiis- 
Keltra, who seems to have flourished in the 
eighth century. See " Ecclesiastical History 
of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. ii., 11. 
18., p. 381. ]!ut, ISollandus thought him to 
be a different person. See * Acta Sancto 
rum," Februarii, tomus i. Vita S. Urigida 1 . 
Commentaria Prsi via, sec. 2. 

See "Ecclesiastical History of Ire 
land," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. ii., n, iS, p. 



i 4 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



were diligently collated by the editor, who found them severally mutilated, 
worn, abounding in false emendations of librarians, or commentators, de 
formed with verbal transpositions and changes, to such a degree, that the 
sense of some verses could not be discovered, while the proper number of 
feet and the requisite syllabic measure were wanting, in many lines. 123 Yet, 
through the collector s great industry, who observed closely the discrepancy 
in his copies, we are indebted for the publication of this old Tract. The 
editor endeavoured to follow authorities he considered most authentic, in his 
several copies ; for he observed, that in many instances, the just number and 
measure of the verse could be found in some particular Manuscripts, while in 
others they were expressed, sometimes by abbreviations, again by a transpo 
sition of words, and often by some closing or arbitrary notation. The lines 
were frequently found so greatly mutilated, that they bore a prosaic rather 
than a metrical appearance. So many omissions and licences on the 
part of copyists were detected, that the editor felt obliged to affix various 
marginal annotations to this poem. I2 9 Not alone through the incautiousness 
of copyists a fruitful source of error in old documents many transpositions 
of words had been introduced, and certain synonymous terms were substituted 
for others; but, besides, many abbreviations of doubtful meaning were iound, 
while these left the sense imperfect. 3 Even unaccountable caprice and 
mutilations caused some of the chapters to be acephalous or truncated, while 
some were altogether omitted, as might be seen in the still imperfect and 
published Sixth Life. 131 There certain lines are subjoined from the Barberini 
Manuscript, and which were wanting in that of Monte Cassino, while breaks are 
discoverable in the narrative and structural course of the poem. 132 Although 
many particulars relating to St. Brigid are found in the Five first Lives, as 
published by Colgan, and which are missing in the Sixth ; T 33 yet, the editor sup 
poses this attributable to no other cause, than to the deplorable liberties taken 
by scribes or librarians. Here and there have been detected many elisions 
and erasures. It can scarcely be doubted, that these manipulators altoge 
ther pretermitted other matters. As this old and careful writer relates, many 
of St. Brigid s Acts were left out by others, and as it is indicated in the Pro 
logue, that he read her Lives written by St. Ultan, Eleran and Animosus ; 



- 8 But for such defects, it must have been immediately afterwards, verses were maimed 

extremely valuable. in prosodial number and quantity, while 

^ I2 9 He did not alter the poem in the they were disfigured with blots. Colgan 

slightest tittle, except in those instances, tells us he published the poem, as he found it, 

where noted and obvious omissions of copy- changing nothing therein, with only the 

ists had left discrepancies between certain foregoing exceptional emendations, 

parts and lines, or had so crudely amended I3 - This is noticed by the editor in a great 

them, ti.at it could readily be conjectured variety of instances. 

these emendations did not represent the I33 Colgan s divisions of the six lives are as 

original writer s words. follow, viz. : First. The Metrical life, 53 

30 It was not possible for the industry or stanzas of four lines each, Irish with Latin 
research of either collator or editor, to repair translation. Secondly. The Second Prose 
so many mistakes, or restore so many omis- life has 36 chapters, with a prologue, 
.dons. Wherefore, Colgan only endeavoured Thirdly. The Third Prose life has 131 chap- 
to place in due order, those words which ters, with supplementary metrical lines, 
seemed transposed, in certain passages, and Fourthly. The Fourth Prose life is divided 
cautiously to substitute others in place of into two books the first book containing 
certain contracted words, doubtful in the 52 chapters, and the last IOO. It is prefaced 
reading, or which through the error of the by a prologue. Fifthly. The Fifth Prose 
copyists were put for terms having a sup- life comprises 58 chapters. Sixthly. The 
posed affinity. Sixth Metrical life contains 68 sections 

131 Here and there, certain elegant and more or less imperfect with prefatory and 

glowing phrases were found, especially in supplementary lines, 
descriptive and metaphorical passages ; then 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



hence, it cannot be supposed, he would have passed over so many accounts, 
faithfully related by various other writers, or that he would not have included 
several accounts, not given by them. 1 --* 

The Lives of St. Brigid, published by Colgan, are not the only authorities 
available for her Acts. In the Book of Lisniore, which had been written 1 - 5 
for Mac Carthy Reagh, or Einghen Mac I )iarmata, and which is now the 
Duke of Devonshire s property, there is an Irish sermon on the Life of St. 
Brigid. Ij6 This has been translated into English, 13 ? transcribed, and collated 
with a similar copy, but having varied readings, in the Leabhar Breach 3 
Besides these, there \\ere many lives of St. Brigid, written in the Irish 
tongue. Four only of these, however, came into Colgan s hands. 1 -- } There 
is scarcely any considerable library in which the Acts of St. Brigid will not 
be found. Her meinorv likewise has been commemorated by a Divine Office, 
not only throughout the whole of Ireland, but even in many Dioceses of 
England, Scotland, Belgium, E ranee and (lermany. 40 

A Life of St. Brigid has been inserted in the collection of John Cap- 
grave. MI This is taken apparently from the work of Cogitosus. 142 A certain 
anonymous writer edited a Lite ot St. Bngid, in (ierman, and this was 
printed at Augusta, in 1478. 43 Another biography of the Saint had been 
printed 44 at Argentine. M5 Yalentinus Leuctius, in his work, " De Sanctis, 
has special reference to St. Brigid. In addition to those tracts already 
mentioned, Yincentius Bellovacensis 46 wrote a summary of St. Brigid s Acts 
in his book. 4 ? St. Antoninus 43 has also treated about this illustrious 
Virgin. 4 ? Guido de Castris, - J 1 etrus de Natalibiis," 1 John of Tinmouth, 52 
Sunns, 53 in two different acts, 1 " 4 Ilaneus, Messingham, 35 Cornelius Orasius/s 6 



1 ;4 Such is ( norm s expressed opinion. 
He supposes such omissions arc attributable 
rather to incompetent commentator.-, than to 
the original author. 

IJy Aonghus O Calladh. 

^ At folio 53. col. 2, of tliis MS., there 
is a Gael c entry given in |. T. Gilbert s 
History of the \ iceroys of Ireland, 
notes to chap, xi., p. 603. The following 
is an English translation: "Let everyone 
who shall read this Life of [Saint] lirigid 
give a blessing on the s,,ul.s of the cuiiple for 
whom it was written." 

M7p,y Professor Bryan O l.ooney of the 
Catholic University, who has obligingly 
lent his Irish transcript, with his English 
translation, to the writer. 

138 Belonging to the Royal Irish Academy. 

* 9 As they contained, for the must part, 
only particulars, which were to be found in 
various Acts published by him, Co gan 
thought it quite unnecessary to present more 
than an Irish Hymn, composed by St. 
Brogan, with its Latin version. 

140 Sec, "Trias Thaumaturga." Tertia 
Vita S. Brigidae, n. 7, p. 543. (Juarta Vita 
S. Brigidre, nn. 15, 16, p. 504, iind. Ouinta 
Vita S. Brigidie, cap. viii., ]). 569, and nn. 
9, 11, p. 640, ibid. 

141 In his " Xova Lcgcntla Angliix:" we 
find " Vita S. Brigidac Virginis," fol. xlix., 
1., li., Kalendas Februarii. See notices of 
this work and of the writer in S. Austin 
Allibone s "Critical Dictionary of English 
Literature," &c., vol. i., p. 336. 



I4 - Agreeing with it is the MS. Colt. 
TikT./L. i., IT. 32-34. 

* This was probably Triers, in Germany, 
although many towns bear a .similar Latin 
name. 

U4 A.I). 1506. 

145 Probably this was Argentan, in Lower 
Normandy, or Argenton, of the Orleannois, 
in I- rance. 

4 J < r Vincent De Beauvais, a French 
Dominican savant, who lived from about 
IKJO to 1264. See Laurence E. Phillip* 
" Dictionary of Biographical Reference," p. 

937- 

47 See "Speculum IIistori;p," lib. xxii., 
cap. 29. 

4 " ; He died the 2nd of May, A.n. 1459. 
His feast is kept on the loth of May. 

49 In "Cronicon," pars, ii., tit. xii. , 
caji. 6. 

5 Abbot of St. Denis, who wrote, " De 
Vitis Sanctorum." 

151 Lib. iii., cap. 69. 

5 J In " De Sanctis Britannia. 1 ." 

155 See " De Probatis Sanctorum Histo- 
riis," iVc., tomus i., pp. So6 to 809. 
Cologne Edition, A.I). 1576. In the otner 
edition I Februarii, pp. 19 to 25. 

154 The first of these is comprised in fifteen 
paragraphs, and the second in thirty-two 
paragraphs. 

155 See " Florilegium Insulce Sanctorum, 
pp. 189 to 207. 

& At the 1st of February. 



i :> 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



&c have r>ll made their respective commemorations of her. Robert of 
Gloucester^; wrote a Biography of this venerable Virgin, and some mam- 
script copies of it are preserved." 8 The Right Rev. David Rothe, bishop 
of Ossory, published a beautiful dissertation, intitlcd, " De Brigida lhau: 

^Likewise, in the Hystoric Sanctorum," published at Louvain,^ we have 
a short biography of this most pious virgin. In Lippeloo s Collect >ns 
the Acts of St. Brigid arc to be met with. 162 Also, in the Breviary of 
\berdeen, ; " 6 3 the Life and Miracles of this holy virgin are recorded in six 
I essons l6 ^ In a Latin translation,"* with additions to that celebrated work 
of the Spanish Jesuit, Father Ribadenira l66 the editor has placed this lily of 
virgins in his Flower-Garden of the Saints. 16 ? Canon Giacomo Certain 
has written her Acts in Italian. 6 * Lives of St. Brigid were published by 
Henry Adrian and Herbert Rosweyde, 1 in Flemish. A lather Robert 
Rochfort, formerly Rector of the Franciscan College at Louvain, wrote in 
English, a Life of this illustrious virgin. The Bollandists 1 ? have published 
various acts of this holy virgin. After having given a previous commentary 
in fourteen chapters and one hundred and fourteen paragraphs, with s 
lessons from an office, their First Life contains seventeen chapters and one 
hundred and fourteen sections ; a Second Life contains eight chapters and 
40 sections; a Third Life in metre has ten chapters and seventy-two 
sections ; a Fourth Life is in two Books the first Book containing 5 chap 
ters and 55 sections the second Book 12 chapters and 82 sections ; while 
a Fifth Life of St. Brigid is comprised in 15 chapters and 93 sections. 1 ? 5 



;< He died about 1290. -Sec Laurence 
E. Phillips "Dictionary of Biographical 
Reference," p. 800. 

158 Among these are written in old English 
a MS. C.C.C. Cant. 145, veil. sm. fol, xiv. 
cent., apparently by Robert of Gloucester. It 
commences with the words : "Sain Bride 
that holi maicle of Irlonde was," &c. 
Another copy, with some differences of 
reading, is a MS. Ashmole 43, ff. 15-18, b. 
veil. 8vo, circa A.D. 1300. Again, there 
is another old English Life of S. Bride, 
with an illumination of the saint very fairly 
executed. It is classed MS. Bocll. Tanner. 
17, f. 12, veil, fol., xv. cent. Also, a MS. 
Bodl. Laud. Misc. 463 (1596), ff. 6-9, vol. 
f-)i., xiv. cent. Another Life of S. Brigid 
(old English) MS. Bodl. 779 (2567), ff. 127, 
b. 128 b. paper folio, xv. cent. The fore 
going seem to be different copies of Robert 
of Gloucester s Life of St. Brigid, with some 
differences in the text. 

159 Nearly all of these tracts were issued 
in the Latin language. 

160 There occurs, Brigida Virgo, at fol. 
\\., xxi. 

101 See " Vitos Sanctorum," vol. i. 

lfc At the 1st of February, pp. 553, 558. 

163 This was first printed in 1509. The 
Bollanclists have reprinted from it the six 
Lessons of St. Brigid s Office in " Acta 
Sanctorum," tomus i., Februarii i., Com- 
mentarius prcevius, xv., p. 118. 

164 The Breviary of Aberdeen has been 
reprinted, under the Editorship of the Rev. 



William Blew, in two vol.-,., 4tc 
cols. 

I6 3 Published at Cologne, A. D. 1630, 
" apud Joanncm Kinkium sub Monocerote." 
This translation purports to give useful notes 
and the festivals of recent saints. It con 
tains a double Index of Saints, and of sub 
jects for preachers. 

166 In the second part of the Latin version 
of Ribadeneira s "Flos Sanctorum," &c., 
we have a Life of St. Bridget, at the 1st of 
February, pp. 82, 83. See his biography 
in Rees "Cyclopaedia," vol. xxx., sub i occ 
" Ribadcneira." 

7 In the Dublin edition of an English 
translation of Ribadeneira, the Life oi St. 
Brigid is not found. 

8 He lived about 16/0. See Phillips 
" Dictionary of Biographical Reference," p. 
241. 

I6 9 His work, in a 4to volume, is intituled, 
"La Santita Prodigiosa, Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." 

l This celebrated Dutch hagiographer 
lived from 1569 to 1629. See Phillips 
" Dictionary of Biographical Reference," p. 
Sii. 

J : See Rees "Cyclopaedia," vol. iv., sub 
vocc, " Bollanclists." 

*i- See "Acta Sanctorum," tomus i., i. 
Februarii, Vita S. Brigida;, pp. 99 to 185. 
In the Addenda to this Tome are to be 
found two paragraphs referring to St. Brigid, 
pp. 941, 942. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Aclnen Baillet has written her Life, in the French Language, 1 " and included 

Bishop Challoner 75 has inserted a Life of 

Brigide or Bride, Virgin and Abbess, at the ist of February. 1 ? 6 The 

Rev. Alban Butler has_some brief notices of the Saint in his work. 1 " Also, 

among the Irish Cistercian Monk s extracts from the same, an account has been 

A very elegantly written biography of the Virgin Abbess 

t has been compose 1 by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould. 1 ^ Bishop Forbes 

has likewise inserted her Aits. 1 " 1 

Hardly any important collection of Manuscripts can be met with, in 
which we do not find some Acts or memorials of the great St. Brigid. lSr 
Several Lives and Hymns relating to this holy Virgin, and in the native 
language, are to be found among those Tracts, 1 " contained in the Royal 

Among the Messrs. Hodges and Smith s Collec- 

on of Irish Manuscripts belonging to this noble national institution, 

Another small quarto paper Manu 
script contains an Irish Life of this holy Virgin. 1 Besides these, we find a 
:. Brigid, 5 j n this collection alone. Again we meet 
lanuscripts one small, 1 the other a folio 1 "? belonging to 
the Royal Irish Academy, and containing a Life of St. Brigid in Irish. The 
Library of Trinity College, 1 Dublin, has another interesting collection of 
documents, which serves to illustrate her Acts. 18 ? The Irish Catholic 

dern Manuscripts, relating to the Life of 

this \ ii-gm Saint. Archbishop Marsh s Library furnishes an old Manuscript 
Liie ot St. Bngid. : Knglish collections, as among those of Oxford, Cam- 



" ! At th i,t of February, in Bailiet s 
" Le- \ ies de- Sain .-/ appeals an ace unt 
of St. I .rigid, Virgin, Abbc.-s of Kilda.e, 
ami I atroi:e-s of Ireland. Tuine i., pp. 
24 to 2(>. 

174 It seems slrang that an account of this 
is omifed, when treating about the author s 
other works in the "\\c\v ami General 
Biographical Dictionary," Aie,, \ol. ii., pp. 
24 to 27. London, I 7oS. 

lr; His Life, written in F.i::;IMi by liis 
Vicar-General, Jame-, Bernard, appeared at 
London, A. 1 1. 17X4, in Svo. See Leller s 
Uictionnaire I li-torique," tome iv., p. 290. 
1 aris edition, 1827, ,/.,;., Svo. 

i;0 See "Britannia Sanaa," par;, i., pp. 
91 to 95. 

" Jn Butler s Lives of the Father-, 
Maityrs and other 1 rineipal Saint-," vol. 
ii., at the i-t of February, is entere i St. 
Bridget, or Bride, V. Abbess, and Patron of 
Ireland. 

7> - See " Lives of the Irish Saints, ^c., 
pp. 9. 10. 

" See " Lives of tlie Saint.-," vol. ii., 
February i, pp. 14 to 22. 

fco See " Kalendars of Scottish Saints," 
pp. 287 to 291. 

1CI The lartje folio vellum MS., in the 
K. I. A. copy of "Leabliar Ilieae," con 
tains a Life of St. Bridget. No. 40, 6. 

182 Some composition.-, in Latin re^ardin^ 
her are also preserved. The XVIII. vol. of 
O Longan MSS. in the R. 1. A. contains, 
Hyinmis de virtutilms ct miraculis sanctix.- 
Brigidcc Kildariensis abbatiss;i- et 1 atron.e 
a Sancto Brigano, p. 82. Yul. XLI. of 



numbered 12. 
numbered 165. 
numbered iGS. 
classed No. 49, 4. 
classed No. 39, 6. 
are tracts: DC S. Brigida. 



n MSS. in the K. I. A. contains a 
oi St. Ilro^an s short poem on St. 
KM- d, seven (juatrains, p. 14;. The XI. I. 
vol. of O Lon-an MSS. in the R. I. A. 
contains St. llro-an s Jlymn to St. Brigid, 
published by Colgan, p. 144. The LIV. 
vol. of O Longan MSS. in the R. I. A. con 
tains a poem on St. Brigid, improperly 
ascribed to St. Suibne, the sou of Colman, 
p. 176. 

This 
4 This 
This 
" 1 his 
" This 
s llcre 

^IS. Trin. C oll. Dublin. 290. Miracula 
B. Brigidiv, MS. Trin. Coll. Dublin. 647. 
Vita S. Urigid;u, MS. Trin. Coll. Dublin. 
647. Tins is a transcript from the Cotto- 
nian .MS. Nero., F. i., No. 316. Also Yita 
i. Brigid;v, MS. Trin. Coll. Dublin. This 
is a transcript from a Ratisbon Manuscript, 
with emendations by Ussher. See Sir 
Thomas Duffus Hardy s "Descriptive 
Catalogue of Materials Relating to the 
History of Great Britain and Ireland," vol. 
i., part i., p. 114. 

The Trinity College MS., classed II. 

I. n, contains i. A Life of St. Brigid, ac 

cording to the accounts of learned antiqua- 

rian.s and handed down by tradition. It 

begins, peAcci!]- -oo imbrue. 

It is classed, "Vita S. Brigidse," 
Virg. vol. 3, 4, 23. MSS. 

I he following are among these: 
Vita S. Brigida. , Scotice-Mutila MS. Insul, 

C 



iS 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



bridge, the British Museum 1 ? 2 and Lambeth, as also Scotch _and European 1 ^ 
Libraries, are stored with different Acts of this illustrious Saint. There is an 
Irish Life of St. Brigid, transcribed by Michael O Clery, and kept among the 
MS. records of the Burgundian Library, at Bruxelles. 1 ^ If all these public 
collections could be examined and compared, there can hardly be a doubt, 
but much valuable matter might be evolved, to place her history in a truer 
light than has yet been obtained. Those documents prove, likewise, that 
her fame was by no means confined to Ireland. 1 ? 5 Indeed, it may be said, 
hardly any Saint in the universal Church was more renowned during the 
Middle Ages, than Ireland s great Patroness and the prodigies recorded 
concerning her sufficiently manifest that special devotion entertained for her 
memory by numberless clients and admirers. Her memorials also have been 
succinctly related in various Breviaries : viz. in the old Roman one, published 
at Venice in 1522 ; in that printed at Genoa, Italy; in a Breviary issued at 
Cornouaille, in British Armorica ; in that produced at Mons, by the Canons 
Regular; in that published at Paris, A.D. 1622, and intended for Kildare 
diocese ; as also in others published at Wurtzburgh, at Triers, and at other 
places in Germany. 1 ? 6 Besides these the Breviary of Kilmoon Church, in 
Ireland, contained an Office for St. Brigid. 1 ?? It appears to have consisted of 
Nine Lessons, with Responses, Antiphons and musical Notation, but it is 
very much mutilated and defaced. 



arnd Claudium : Doresmieulx. See " Bi- 
biiolheca Belgica Manuscript.!," p. 266. 
Legenda in Festo S. Brigittce MS. Arundel 
198, f. 19 b. This is a short lection and of 
no great value. Vita S. Brigidse MS. 
Lambeth. 94, 18, f. 155. Vita S. Brigidae 
MS. Bodl. Laud. Misc. 108 (1486) ff. 93 b. 
94 b. veil. fol. xiv. cent. This is written 
in old English. Vita S. Brigidi-e MS. Harl. 
2800, 28, ff. 74 b. 83 b. Vita S. Brigidce. 
MS. Bodl. Tanner. 15 f. 86. Vita S. 
Brigidse Virginis. MS. Cott. Nero. E. i. 
29, ff. 134 b. 140. Life of Brigid. MS. 
Phillips, 10294, 8vo paper, xix. cent. Copy 
of a MS. belonging to the Duke of Devon 
shire. Vita S. Brigidse. MS. Eccl. Lincoln, 
folio. See Haenel " Catalogus Librorum 
Manuscriptorum," p. 799. Vita S. Brigidse, 
auctore Hugbaldo monacho Elnonensi MS. 
Csenob. Elnonensis, 251. Vita S. Brigidae. 
MS. Clarendon, 65, f. 4. See Sir Thomas 
Duffus Hardy s "Descriptive Catalogue of 
Materials relating to the History of Great 
Britain and Ireland," vol. i., parti., pp. in 
to 114. 

192 Among the Clarendon Manuscripts, 
formerly the property of Sir James Ware, 
are Excerpts from " Vita S. Brigidce," and 
a " Vita S. Brigidse." 

193 In the various European Libraries we 
have been enabled to trace the following 
copies : Vita S. Brigidse MS. Regensburg. 
Vita S. Brigittae fragmentum. We find 
appended, " Hujus vitee auctor est, ni fallor, 
Hugbaldus Elnonensis, Monachus. MS. 
Bibl. du Roi. 2999, 3. olim Le Tellier veil, 
xi. cent. Vita S. Brigidse Virginis. MS. 
Bibl. du Roi. 3788, 42. olim Colbert, veil, 
xii. cent. Yita S. Brigidte, Virginis. MS. 



Bibl. du Roi. 3800. a. 7. olim de Bethune. 

veil. xiii. cent. Vita Sanctce Brigidse, MS. 

Bibl. du Roi. 5269, 21. olim Faurian. 

veil. xiv. cent. Vita S. Brigidse Virginis. 

MS. Bibl. du Roi. 5278, 23. olim Colbert. 

veil. xiii. & xiv. cent. Vita S. Brigidae, 

Virginis. MS. Bibl. du Roi. 5292, 48. 

olim Colbert, veil. xiii. cent. Vita S. 

Brigidae, Virginis. MS. Bibl. du Roi. 5318, 

60. olim Bigot, veil. xiii. cent. Vita S. 

Brigidse, Virginis. MS. Bibl. du Roi. 5352, 
i. olim Colbert, veil. xiv. cent. Vita 
Brigiclre, MS. Petavii in Vaticana, 507. 
Vita S. Brigidce, MS. Bibl. Monast. S. 
Audoeni Rothomag, 104. Vita Brigidic 
MS. Monast. de Becco, 128. Vita S. 
Brigidoe. MS. Vatican, 4872. MS. Vati 
can, 6074. MS. Vatican, 6075. Vita S. 
Brigittse. MS. Vallicellan. ap. Rom. H. 12, 
f. 195. MS. Vallicellan. ap. Rom. H. 25, 
f. 43. MS. Vallicellan. ap. Rom. H. 28, f. 
105. Vita S. Brigittrc. MS. Palatin, 863. 
Vita S. Brigidae. MS. Laureatiance Medi- 
ccye in bibl. Florentine iv. 323. Cod. xx. 
Vita S. Brigidse. MS. Monast. S. Gisleni 
in Cella. See Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy s 
" Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating 
to the History of Great Britain and Ireland," 
vol. i., part, i., pp. 114 to 116. 
*9 4 Vol. xi., fol. i. 

*K Among the Bruxelles MSS., in the 
Burgundian Library, there is a tract S. 
Brigidte Vita," vol. iv., part i., p. 24. 

196 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Vita S. Brigidce. Appendix Tertia, cap. i., 
pp. 609, 610. 

w See Trinity College MS., classed B. i, 
5, at fol. 114 b. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



I he less remote genealogies of Ireland s kings, chiefs, and saints arc 
iound to harmonize in a remarkable manner with each other. Nor can we 
regard more ancient pedigrees and traditions as mere fabrications.^ 8 Ac 
cording to Cogitosus and Animosus, St. Brigid was descended from 
Feidhmidh Rechtmar or the Law-giver, ^ through the line of Fthach, 200 or 
Eochaidh 2 Finn Foihurt. his son, who was brother to the celebrated 
Conn of the Hundred Buttles, King of Ireland. The family to which our 

lint belonged was formerly very celebrated, and a powerful one, belonging 
to the Province of Leinster. In Irish song and story, bards and senachies 
limed their renown. The genealogists of Ireland have been careful 
to record St. Brigid s descent, 20 which in the direct line irom her paternal 
progenitor, Eochaidh Finn Futharr, was illustrated by holy persons, as well 
as by heroes. 20 * The various Irish pedigrees and kalendars enumerate not 

sss than fourteen Colgan- ^ only enters thirteen saints/ 06 who had been 
descended from Focluuuh Finn. Two of these named in the list are sup 
posed, however, to have been of a different family. St. Gall, Patron of 
Switzerland, 20 ? and his brother Deicolus, Abbot of Lure 203 have been con- 
jccturally added to the foregoing number. The following is the order of pa 
ternal descent, traced for St. Bngid. To Fochaidh Finn was born a son, 
named Aongus Meann. He had a son Cormac, whose son Cairpre Niadh 
was father to Art Corb, whose son was Conleach or Conla. To the latter 
was born a son, Den, the father of Bresal, who was the father of Demri. 2 ^ 



: < Sec Rev. i)r. Todd\ "St. Patrick, 
Apostle ol Ireland." Appendix to Intro 
duction, A, p. 247. 

l " King u: Ireland, from A.I . 104 to 174, 
according to O Flaherty s clmmulogy. .s c e 
"Ogygi.i," P ar -- ii>-, cap. Ivii., pp. 306 to 
308. In Dr. (/Donovan s "Annals uf tile 
Four Masters," however, his reign is placed 
much earlier, vi/., from A.D. 110 to no. 
See vol. i., pp. 100 to 103. Having enacted 
a law of retaliation for the repression of 
various crimes this king died a natural 
death, after a reign oi nine years. Cathaeir 
Mor, or the Great, succeeded, according to 
I Jr. O Donovan s "Annals of the Four 
Masters. Alter a reign of three years, \ve 
are informed, that he was slam in the battle 
of Magh-h-Agha, by Conn of the Hundred 
1 ightsand by the Fian or militiaof Luaighne, 
A.D. 122. See if>: ,t., pp. 102, 103. 

J See "Trias Thaumaturga. " Secunda 
Vita S. Brigida, , cap. i., p. 519. 

- See ibid. Cjuarta \"ita S. Ikigicla. 1 , 
cap.^i., p. 546. 

^ From A.D. 177 to 21 !, according to 
O Flaherty s "Ugygia, pars, iii., cap^ lx., 
Ixi., pp. 313 to 3KS. Dr. O Donovan s 
" Annals of the Four Masters" has it from 
A.D. 123 to 157. See vol. i., pp. 103 to 
105. 

- uj Among the St. Gall manuscripts like 
wise there is a " Genealogia S. IJrigidte. " 

- 4 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Appendix O_uarta ad Acta S. Ikigidx-, cap. 
ii., p. 613. 

ci He remarks, that the Xatales for most 
of those saints are found entered in the 
Martyrologies of Tallagh, of Marianus 



O Gorman,ofCathald Maguire, and of Done 
gal. 

J The following is a list of the saints and 
their places, with presumed days for their fes- 
tivit;e>. i. St. Aidan, venerated on the 27th 
of Augu-t, or on the 41)1 of September, at a 
place called Cluain Tai bh, or Clontarf. 2. 
St. Berchan. also called MobiClairenach, vene 
rated on the 1 2th of October, at Glasnevin. 
3. St. Barrindus, of Achadh-Cailltin, at 
tiie hth ot November. 4. St. Colman, of 
Airthir Femhin. 5. St. Declan, of Ard- 
more, venerated on the 24th of July. But, 
from the Hie of this latter saint, which 
Colgan intended to publish at that day, it 
would seem, Declan and his brother Colman 
are not derived Irom the race of Eochad, as 
the author of the " Sanctilogic Genealogy" 
writes, but rather from the posterity of his 
brother Fiach Sugdhe. 6. St. Diman, 
bishop, who was venerated on the 9th, or 
on the 22nd, of March. 7. St. Enan, of 
Drum Rath, venerated on the igthof August. 
8. St. Fechin, of Fore, venerated on the 
20th of January. 9. St. Finbarr or Fionub- 
har, Abbot of Inis Doimhle, venerated on 
the 4th of July. 10. St. Fintan, Abbot of 
Clonenagh, venerated on the 171)1 of Feb 
ruary, n. St. Fman, venerated on the 
131)1 of February, or on the 41)1 of October. 
12. St. Mochuan. 13. St. Sarnata, who 
was venerated on the i6th of April. See 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidiu, cap. iii., p. 
613. 

17 See his Life at the i6th of October. 

3 See his Life at the i8th of January. 

209 This accords with the Irish Life of St. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



The sou of this latter was Dubtach, the father of St. Brigid." Thus was 
the illustrious virgin eleventh in lineal descent, from the renowned Feidhmidh 
Rechtmar, 2 " or the Lawgiver, 2 - King of Ireland, in the second century of 
our Christian era 2I3 It would seem, that on our saint s maternal side, Bngid 
was descended from the O Connor family. 21 * The mother of this holy virgin 
is incorrectly called Brocea, Broca, 2I 5 or Broccssa, by Cogitosus, > and by 
some foreign writers. But, by most of our native authorities, she is more 
correctly named Brotseach," 6 or Brocseach. 21 ? The sister of this Brotseacn 
appears to have been Fanchca, the mother of three holy sons. 21 
Calendar of the CTClerys states, that Broiccseach, 2I 9 daughter of Dallbronach, 
son to Aedh Meamhair, 220 was the mother of this most renowned virgin. 
Such a respectable pedigree is alone sufficient to disprove an assertion ot 
certain writers recording our saint s acts, that her mother was of servile con 
dition. Both her parents are called Christians, and they are reputed to 
have been of noble birth. 221 It seems probable enough, they may have been 
among St. Patrick s converts, when he spent some time in Louth, before re 
turning to the North from his southern missionary travels. Besides the 



Brigid, in the "Book of Lismore" and in 
the " Leabhar Brcac" according to Professor 
O Looney s copy, pp. 3, 4. 

210 Such is her lim- as traced in the 
" Sanctilogic Genealogies," chapter xv. 
Cormac Mae Cuillenan, in his treatise on 
"Genealogies of the Saints," contained in 
the " Psalter of Cashel," assigns the same 
descent on the father s side, for St. Brigid. 
In this particular, Dr. Geoffry Keating 
agrees with the foregoing authorities. See 
Dermod O Connor s Keating s "General 
History of Ireland," part ii., p. 389. 

211 In the Fourth Life of St. Brigid, it is 
said, he was thus named, because he effected 
great law reforms in his kingdom of Ireland, 
while " Reacht" of the Scotic dialect in 
Latin is identical with "lex/ In English 
it means " law." 

212 Colgan agrees, that the cognomen 
Rcachtmar is Latinized by the words " legi- 
fer" or "legislator." Such an epithet had 
been bestowed on him because of his being 
a great lover of justice. He also says that 
the origin of this word " Rcachtmar^ is in 
accordance with our historic traditions, and 
the common use of the epithet. See " Trias 
Thaumaturga." Vita Quarta S. Brigidte, 
lib. i., cap. i., p. 546, and n. 3, p. 563. 

21 3 The O Clery s Calendar agrees, like 
wise, that St. Brigid descended from the 
race of Eochaidh Finnfuathairt, son to 
Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar, son to Tuathal 
Teachtmhar, Monarch of Erinn. 

214 According to Professor O Looney s 
Irish Life, St. Brigid s mother was Broig- 
seach, the daughter of Dallbronach, of the 
Dail Conchobhar in South Brcgia. 

21 5 In the Third Office of St. Brigid, pub 
lished by Colgan, " patre Diptoco, et matre 
Broca," are held to have been her parents. 
Her offices and other accounts make our 
.saint a native of Leinster. This was an 
ciently a Province of Ireland, bounded 
eastwards by the Irish Sea, having Minister 



on its south and west, with Meath towards 
the north. Like other great districts of Ire 
land, it had its own kings ; subject, however, 
to the chief monarch of the island. Naas 
was the capital cityduring St. Brigid s period. 
Its metropolis for many ages past has been 
Dublin, which formerly had many suffragan 
sees within its present archiepiscopal limits. 
For some time past, it has only the suffragan 
sees of Kildare and Leighlin, Ossory and 
Ferns. 

216 Co]ga.n remarks, that she should be 
called Brotseach, as the generality of au 
thors especially in old Latin codices style 
her. See "Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigida^, cap. ii., p. 613. 

217 Irish writers more generally, as also 
more correctly, write her name Brocseach, 
and hence Colgan prefers to adopt their or 
thography. See ibid. Quarta Vita S. Bri 
gid 03, n. 8, p. 563. 

218 St. /Engus the Culdee, in his tract, 
"Mothers of the Irish Saints," relates, that 
Fanchca, daughter of Dalbronach, was mo 
ther of Saints Conall, Eugene, and Carbre, 
three sons of Neman. 

21 9 In the table to this martyrology, after 
the holy virgin s name, we find the following 
comment introduced, within brackets : 
"[Daughter of Bro icsech ; her mother was 
Brocsecha.]" Sec " Martyrology of Done 
gal." Edited by Drs. Tocld and Reeves. 

220 He is said to have been of Dalconchab- 
huir, in the southern part of Bregia, accord 
ing to an Irish Life of St. Brigid. St. Ultan 
also belonged to that family. A scholiast, 
in his preface to a hymn, said to have been 
composed by St. Ultan, writes, that he com 
posed this hymn in praise of St. Brigid : 
and that he was of the Daleconchabuir, to 
which belonged St. Brigid s [mother, Brot 
seach, daughter of Dallbronac. 

221 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Cogitosus or Secunda Vita S. Brigidse, cap. 
i., p. 519. 



LIFE OF ST. FRIGID. 



testimony of Cogitostts, referable to the Christian parentage of St. Brigid, in 
that metrical prologue to her sixth life, 22 - Dubtach is represented as a noble, 
pious man. and still more noble, through his own proper spouse 2 - - 5 and their 
holy offspring. 22 * Xor does there appear to be any qualification to this 
eulogy, in regard to any particular portion of his life. Whether the birth of 
their illustrious daughter took place before or after their conversion to Chris 
tianity is not established on any reliable authority. 

Our most judicious historians, Protestant and Catholic, 22 ? pass over in 
silence, or with reproof, those very incredible legends, which contradict the 
foregoing accounts." Indeed, an exact critical analysis will only serve to 
render the least remarkable circumstances, attending St. Brigid s birth, more 
probable; while the romantic narratives can be traced to no better sources 
than popular traditions, so liable to be obscured by fables. No doubt, cer 
tain old Acts of the saint we cannot be sure, however, these are the most 
ancient and authentic contain the entry of such preposterous statements. 
Later writers, during the middle ages, 2 - ? adopted those vain fantasies, without 
sufficient examination, and these again have been repeated by more modern 
writers" 3 unreflectingly or in complete ignorance of the historic value, applic 
able to their sources for information. The genealogy of St. Brigid s mother- 
apparently drawn from remote pedigrees shows that she was not of servile 
condition, 22 5 but through family origin, in every respect, fitted to be the 
lawful and respected spouse of the noble Dubtach. 

1 he best refutation of certain strange accounts, relating to St. Brigid s 
birth, will probably be found in a brief statement of the legend. 2 > The 
paternal ancestor of our illustrious virgin, and who is named Kochaidh Finn, 
went among the I.agcnians. whose king bestowed many tracts of land on him, 
at different places. In that province the prince s posterity dwelt at a time 



= " " Dubtachus ejus erat genitor cogno- 

niinc dirtus ; 

Claru.s homo merit is, clarus ct a proa- 
vis ; 

Xobilis atque humilis, mitis pietate 

repletus ; 

Nobilior propria conjure, prole pia. 1 
Scxta Vita S. Brigidaj. Prologus. Col- 
gan s "Trias Thaumaturga, " p. 5S2. 

" 3 She is understood to have been Bro- 
cessa or Brotseach, the mother of St. 
Brigid. 

- 4 In those well-known acts of St. Brigid, 
written by Cogitosiis, she is said to have 
been predestined for accomplishment of the 
Almighty s decrees, by special graces re 
ceived from heaven. 

? -" 5 Such as U.v-her, Ware, Lanigan, &c. 
The latter writer observes, that " no atten 
tion is due to \vl: : \ve find in two or three 
of the so-called Lives of St. Brigid concern 
ing her mother having been a concubine, 
whom, when pregnant, the wife of Dubtach 
obliged him to dismiss, and of her having 
been purchased by a pagan poet or a magus, 
and how, in consequence of his taking her 
to Ulster, she was then delivered of the 
saint. This romance-like narrative cannot 
agree with the circumstance, that the parents 
of the saint were Christians. I mean such 
strict Christians as were then in Ireland, nor 
vith the rank of her mother s family and her 



being everywhere else spoken of as the 
wile of I hibtach." 

- Thai the illustrious St. Brigid was 
burn in Scotia of noble and Christian parents 
isolated in the Chronica (Jeneralis Mun- 
d:," by I etrus de Natalibus, lib. iii., cap. 
69, as, ul.-o, in St. Brigid s Second, Third, 
and Fourth Offices, published by Colgan. 
She is said to have been "de bona pro- 
saj>ia in the 1 irst Oince. 

- See the succinct account of John Cap- 
grave in his Nova Legenda Angliae," fol. 
xh\. 

* Such as Harris in his edition of Sir 
James Ware s works, vol. ii., " Writers of 
Ireland," book i., ehap. iii., pp. II, 12. 

--* That she was a captive is intimated in 
Colgan s tir^t published metrical acts of the 
saint, attributed to St. Brogan Cloen. See 
" Trias Thaumaturga." Hymnus, sen Vita 
I riina S. Hrigiche, strophe i., p. 515. 

On this subject, Dr. Lanigan remarks : 
These stories are given in the third and 
fourth lives, which in very great part are 
mere transcripts of each other, agreeing, 
word for word, in many passages. The 
former bears every appearance of being an 
abridgment of the latter. Be this as it may, 
ihey form but one authority. And as to 
the life called the fifth, whatever it has on 
these subjects was evidently taken from one 
or other of them. Amidst other nonsense 



LIfE Of ST. BRIGW. 



when the author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life wrote.* Lrom his race as we 
are told a celebrated and powerful chieftain, named Dubtach, was derived 
who bought a female servant, named Broschach. She was very beautifu and 
distinguished by her great propriety of manner. * Immediately after follows 
a romantic and an incredible account, seemingly irreconcilable with this 
latter statement. On learning that Broschach had conceived, the proper 
wife of Dubtach, it is said, became very much grieved, and advise 
husband to sell his slaveys Fear was expressed, at the same time, that 
Broschach s children should domineer over the family of his wife. ut, tt 
chieftain Dubtach would not hearken to the counsels of his consort, o 
count of a great love he entertained for Broschach. 2 ^ 

About this time, it is said, that two holy bishops^ came from Britain, 
and entered the house of Dubtach. One of these was called Mel or Maol, 
and the other Melchu or Maolchu. 2 37 These were disciples, we are told, ot 
St Patrick, the archbishop, who then preached God s word in Ireland. 2 3 
Maol said to Dub.tach s wife, ; Why are you sorrowful ? The offspring c 
thy servant, shall be exalted above you and your progeny : 2 
that servant equally with your own sons, because her infant shall procure blessings 

for your children." But, the jealously of Dubtach s wife was not appeased, 
and her brothers, who were powerful and brave men, earnestly urged Dubtach 
to sell his servant, in a distant part of the country. By a special inspiration 
a poet, belonging to the Hy-Niall family, 2 came from the northern part of 



contained in these tracts a magus is intro 
duced foretelling the future sanctity of the 
child, while she was still in her mother s 
womb." "Ecclesiastical History of Ire 
land," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. ii., n. 22, pp. 
381, 382. 

231 Colgan remarks, that this account fur 
nishes no slight indication showing how the 
author of this life lived at a very early period, 
and that he flourished at least previously to 
the tenth century, as for many ages back, 
the family of St. Brigid did not live, in those 
places to which allusion had been made. 
See "Trias Thaumaturga." Quarta Vita 
S. Brigidae, n. 7, p. 563. It may be asked, 
however, on what data Colgan grounds his 
assertion, even if the author specified those 
exact places ? This he has not done. 

232 In the Third Life, this latter account 
of Brocseach s good morals as contained in 
the Fourth Life is coincidently given. See 
"Tertia Vita S. Brigicla;, cap. i. , p. 527. 
Both statements appear to have been im 
plicitly followed, in the Fifth or acephalous 
Life of our saint, which Colgan supplies in 
his own words, and in elegant Latin, appa 
rently written to imitate Laurence of Dur 
ham s style. This narrative is paraphrased 
from more succinct accounts of previous 
writers. To supply what is wanting in his 
author, Colgan draws somewhat on his own 
imagination a rather exceptional case with 
him. 

233 In the Irish Life of St. Brigid, con 
tained in the " Leabhar Breac" and the 
" Book of Lismore," the account is some 
what similar. 

334 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 



Vita Quarta S. Brigidrc, lib. i., cap. i., p. 
546. In closing this account of Broschach, 
as she is generally called throughout the 
Fourth Life, the author adds regarding her, 
" in omnibus enim moribus, ilia fscmina erat 
perfecta." 

2 35 They were disciples and nephews of 
St. Patrick, the children of his sister Darerca. 
Colgan gives their acts, at the 6th of Feb 
ruary, the day of their feast, in his " Acta 
Sanctorum Ilibernice," vi. Februarii, pp. 
259 to 264. 

-^ In Professor O Looney s "Life of St. 
Brigid," Irish and English MS., while call 
ing" them bishops of the Britons, they are 
said to have come from the Alps to foretel 
of her, pp. 5> 6. 

-^ In the "Tertia Vita S. Brigidre" they 
are called Mel and Melchu, as also in many 
other works. In the " Vita Quarta S. Bri- 
giclte" they are more correctly named, Maol 
and Maolchu, or by change of the dipthong, 
Mael and Maelchu ; for ao, ae, and n- were 
indifferently used by the Irish and other 
ancient people. 

238 Such is the account given, in the Fourth 
Life of St. Brigid. 

2 39 In an Irish life (chap, ii.) this wife of 
the chieftain is called Brectan. She is said 
to have borne seven sons to Dubtach, the 
seventh or last having been born after the 
birth of St. Brigid. See Colgan s "Trias 
Thaumaturga." Quarta Vita S. Brigiclse, 
n. 10, p. 564. 

240 jd est; de terra nepotum Neill, seu 
Media." The poet, in question, or the 
magus, as he is called in the St. Autbert 
MS., came from the territory of Himaccuais 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Ireland, 2 1 and bought this female slave from Uubtach, who consented to sell 
her, because he feared the anger of his wife, 2 -* 2 and of her brothers, belonging 
to a noble family. 2 Yet, he would not consent to sell the child, which she 
then bore, because wonderful things had been predicted regarding the unborn 
infant. 2 ** In his account of these transactions, Laurence of Durham remarks, 
that the English, Irish, and Scotch were accustomed to deal in slaves, more 
than in any other kind of merchandise ; and that they even considered it an 
honourable kind of traffic, although so much opposed to the spirit of Chris 
tianity. He says, that the mother had been known to sell her daughter, the 



in Meath, and from the particular spot called 
Tochar-mainc, as Mated in St. Brigid s Irish 
Life (cap. v.) Although, in the Fourth Life, 
it is said, he was " poeta de aquilone Hi- 
berniie," there is nothing contradictory to be 
found ; because relatively to Leinster, Meath 
lay to the north, and because a certain 
ma^ns, or poet, belonging to the region of 
Conall Marthemne, in Ulster, bought the 
mother of St. Brigid, not immediately from 
Dubtach. but from the aforesaid Meathian 
poet. This is expressly stated, in the Iri-h 
Life. See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 
Tertia Vita S. Brigida 1 , n. 4, \\ 542. 

-" In Professor U Lconey s MS. the poet 
is said to have been of the l"i Mac L ais, 
and to have been from Tochur Maine, pp. 
S, 6. 

242 Laurence of Durham s fragmentary 
life starts with an announcement, that the 
wife of Duhtach, bitterly reproaching her 
husband with his infidelities, declared that 
henceforth he must makeup his mind, either 
to sell his female slave, or be prepared for her 
own separation from him. Her persistently 
expressed resolution, it is said, overcame 
her husband s previous intention. Dubtach 
then placed his servant in the chariot, which 
enabled him to journey after the fashion of 
his country, to reach a place where he could 
find a market. 

243 By the later writers of our saint s acts, 
we are told, that one day the holy maiden s 
father and mother passed by the house of a 
certain magus, in a chariot. In St. Brigid s 
Irish Life he is called Maithginn, from whom 
Ross-Maithginn is denominated. I le ordered 
the servants to inform him who were seated 
in it, for by the noise of this vehicle, Maith 
ginn supposed it conveyed a king. The 
servants reported to their master, that the 
chariot contained i ;. .nhac. The magus de 
sired him to be called. On being hailed, the 
magician asked if the woman, called ancilla, 
who sat behind him in the chariot, was with 
child. On receiving an answer in the affir 
mative from Dubtach, the magician asked 
her the name of this unborn child s father. 
She replied, that Dubtach was its parent. 
Then the magus addressed these words to 
him, "Be thou a careful guardian of this 
woman, for the child she bears shall become 
illustrious." Dubtach then told the magus 
that his wife, who feared this child s birth, 



had urged him to sell his fellow-traveller, 
who is represented as being a slave. The 
magus then prnphesised, that the children 
of Dubtach s wife should serve the family of 
her servant for ever. The magician also 
said to the servant : " Be of good cheer, for 
no person shall be able to injure you ; the 
graces bestowed on your infant shall prove 
your protection, for to you shall be born an 
illustrious daughter, who will shine in this 
world with the brightness of the noon-day 
sun. Dubtach replied, "I give thanks to 
( nd, that hitherto 1 have had no daughter, 
although having sons. " After these words 
of the magus, Dubtach regarded his female 
servant with greater affection ; although his 
wife, with her brothers, urged her husband 
to sell his slave, in a far distant country. 
See "Trias Thaumaturga. " Vita Tertia S. 
Brigidaj, cap. ii., p. 527. Vita Quarta S. 
Brigii;;! , lib. i., cap. ii., p. 546, ibid. In 
the Fifth Life of our saint, a similar story is 
told substantially, but in a more improved 
Latin phraseology and style ; a greater im 
aginative liberty having been taken appa 
rently with special circumstances given in 
previous accounts. See Vita ( v hiinta S. Bn- 
gidcc, cap. iii., p. 567, ibid. In the metrical 
acts of St. Brigid, the matter is thus briefly 
recorded : 

" Quadam namque die genetrix dum forte 

sedebat, 
In curru pra-gnans, ncc tune enixa puel- 

lam, 
Dumque frementis equi spumantia colla 

tencbat, 
Pulvcrulenta quidem vestigia longa sona- 

bat. 

Audierat sonitum vatcs stridere rotarum 
Dixerat ; ecce vcnit. Rex est, qui prae- 

sidct axi. 
Sed commitissa tamen carpentum sola re- 

gebat. 
Se xta Vita S. Brigid.T, sec. i., pp. 582, 

5S3, ibiJ. 

- 44 In the Office of St. Brigid, printed at 
Paris in 1622, and in her other printed 
or manuscripts offices, various portents re 
ferring to her conception and early child 
hood are noticed, in the antiphons, hymns 
and responses. Also, many virtues and 
miracles, which afterwards distinguished 
her, arc related. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



son his father, and a husband his wife, forgetting every sentiment of nature 
and grace.^5 After the Normans took possession of England, slavery of 
this sort was happily abolished ; and the English owed _this happy change, 
rather to invaders, than to their own countrymen. This writer adds, that 
the Irish and Scots, having lords of their own nation, never wholly abandoned 
serfdom, nor yet allowed it to exist, as formerly they did. 2 -) 6 However this 
may be, we are obliged to resume the incredible and contradictory romance, 
which consigns St. Brigid s mother to a state of bondage. With his newly- 
purchased slave, the poet afterwards returned to his own_ country. 2 -^ A 
certain holy man paid a visit, on that night of arrival at his_ house. This 
pious guest prayed to God, the whole night. Frequently during that time, 
he saw a globe of fire, resting over the spot, where the bond-woman and 
mother of St. Brigid slept. Respecting such circumstances, the poet _ host 
was apprized in the morning. 2 ^ 3 Several incidents, connected with St. Brigid s 
birth, as related by some of her biographers, are puerile in the extreme, and 
unworthy the slightest degree; of credit. 2 ^ It is said, a certain infant, whose 



" 43 Colgan remarks, that except in the 
writings of this author, lie could never dis 
cover elsewhere, authority for the statement 
of a custom prevailing in former times among 
the Irish, whereby a brother would sell his 
brother, a daughter her mother, a father his 
son, or any other relative his kinsman. Tf 
the sale of slaves and captives prevailed in 
pagan times, the mild spirit of Christianity 
and of religious feeling haslongago abolished 
all vile customs of the slave mart, in our 
island. We read, however, that the English 
and Britons, even long after their reception 
of the Christian religion, allowed this abomin 
able trade in human creatures to continue. 
We learn, also, that to this infamous traffic 
in men and women, could be traced, in great 
part, their loss of liberty and subjection to 
a foreign yoke. These were regarded as 
just punishments and visitations of God, 
for permitting such abuses. Sec Colgan s 
"Trias Thaumaturga." Quinta Vita S. 
Brigidre, cap. L, ii., p. 567 and n. 5, p. 
639, ibid. 

246 Giraldus Cambrensis writes as follows 
on this subject, in reference to Ireland, that 
soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion, a 
council was convened at Armagh, in which 
it was decreed, that the English, then held 
as bondsmen, in various parts of Hibernia, 
should be set at liberty. The clergy and 
laity were unanimously agreed on this sub 
ject. Previously to that period, the Saxons 
were accustomed to sell their own children 
and relations as slaves to the Irish, even 
although not pressed to it by any necessity. 
Merchants and pirates were alike engaged 
in this nefarious commerce. The Irish, 
becoming purchasers of those slaves, were 
justly deemed as partners in such traffic, and 
therefore was it thought they had incurred 
Divine displeasure, which had been mani 
fested by permitting their subjection, in turn, 
to the Anglo-Norman invaders. See " Ex- 
pugnatio Hibemica," lib. i., cap. xviii., p. 



258. diraldus Cambrensis, Opera, vol. v., 
Dimock s edition. 

4 ? According to Professor O Looney s 
Irish Eife in MS. a Druid from the territory 
of Connaill repurchased the bondwoman 
from the poet ; and brought her to his own 
part of the country, pp. 5, 6. 

248 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Tertia Vita S. Brigida , cap. iii., p. 527. 
Quarta Vita S. Brigida , lib. i., cap. iii., 
iv., p. 546. In the Fifth Life, the foregoing 
accounts are greatly extended, by the intro 
duction of imaginary discourses and circum 
stances. See Quinta Vita S. Brigida:, cap. 
iii., iv. , pp. 567, 568, ibid. 

24 ? After the account already given, theThird 
Life inserts a ridiculous narrative, relative to 
an occurrence at the infant s birth. This 
same narrative is given in the Fourth Life, 
where it is added, that the infant St. Brigid 
was distinguished by extraordinary beauty 
of features. " Vita Quarta S. Brigidse," lib. 
i., cap. v., pp. 546, 547, ibid. As usual, 
Laurence of Durham greatly enlarges on the 
foregoing accounts. Vita Quinta S. Brigidre, 
cap. v., p. 568, ibid. We are assured, by Col- 
gan, that a king alluded to, and then with his 
queen a guest with the magus, was dynast 
of Conall Murthemne, a region mentioned, 
in an Irish Life of St. Brigid. In a part of 
this territory, designated Fochart, St. Brigid 
was born, according to the same authority, 
and to Henry of Marlborough, A.D. 468. 
Conchobarius in " Vita S. Monenna;," and 
other biographers are of accord. These are 
followed by Ussher, " De Primordiis Eccle- 
siarum Britannicarum," pp. 627, 884. But, 
the magian here mentioned is not identical 
with the Meathian, who purchased St. 
Brigid s mother in the first instance. He 
was the second purchaser and he belonged 
to the territory of the aforesaid Conall, as 
mentioned in an Irish Life. The student 
may refer to "Vita Tertia S. Brigidse," n. 
5. P- 543- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



birth had preceded St. Brigid s by a single day, 250 died suddenly on that of 
our saint s nativity. 251 By some chance, Brigid, being brought near the life 
less body of this infant, touched it. 252 The child was immediately restored 
to life. When this miracle took place, all who were present declared, Brigid 
was that renowned saint, promised by the prophets. 253 

After our saint s birth, the magus is said to have brought her mother with 
him to Connaught, where he dwelt ; and, it is also stated, that the mother of 
this magus had been a native of that province, while his father was born in 
Munster. 254 One day, when the mother of St. Brigid went some distance to 
milk cows, 255 she left her infant sleeping alone in the house. Suddenly, it 
appeared to be in llames, and all who saw ran to extinguish them. 256 On 
approaching the dwelling, however, these llames went out ; and on entering, 
the people found St. Brigid sweetly smiling, with infantile innocence and 
beauty, her cheeks being flushed with a roseate hue.- 57 All proclaimed 
aloud, that the child was replenished with graces of the Holy Spirit. 1 5 " 

Before we proceed further, it may be well to mention, that St. Brigid s 
biographers seem generally to agree in naming Fochard^ as her birthplace. 
Such is the account left us in her Fourth Life. There, as we are told, the 
village in which she was born bore the name, Fochart Muirthemnc, 2CO being 
in the region called Conaille Muirthemhne, formerly within the Ulster 
province. - 01 The tradition, on which such a statement prevails, is referable 
to a remote time. 20 - At present, Faughart 36 ^ i s a small country village, in 



This infant is said to have been a son 
of the King and Queen of Conaille, who were 
then on a visit with a magus, the second 
purchaser, according to Professor O Looney s 
Irish Life, pp. 5 to S. 

^ : Professor O Looney s Irish Life states, 
St. Brigid was born at the rising of the sun, 
pp. 7, S. 

5- In Professor O Looney Irish Life, it is 
stated, that St. Brigid s breath brought the 
king s son to life, pp. 7, 8. 

-53 This account is contained in the Fourth 
Life. We are told by Colgan, that it is to 
be found, also, in the Irish Life, where it is 
stated, the infant brought to life was a son 
to the King of Conall, and this child was 
born on that night, previous to St. Brigid s 
birth, according to the legend. See "Trias 
Thaumaturga." Ouarta YitaS. Brigida-, lib. 
i., cap. vi., ]>. 547, and n. 12, p. 564, ibid. 

" 54 This is accordant with a statement in 
Professor O Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, 
pp. 7, 8. 

2 55 Jbid. 

256 " Stepe etiam rutilis tectorum subdere 
fiammis 

Cernebant fabricam, parvce et cunabula 

Brigida?." Vita Sexta S. Brigi<ke, sec. 

ii., p. 583. Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 

2 57 Ibid. " Tertia Vita S. Brigidae/ cap. 
v., p. 527. "Quarta Vita S. Brigida. ," 
lib. i., cap. viii., ix. , p. 547. In the latter 
life, we are informed about the reason why 
the magician visited the province of Con- 
naught. This he did to exercise his magic 
arts ; for which purpose, he travelled through 
that district, and through other provinces, 
where he was received with great respect. 

5 3 In the Fifth Life of our saint, with its 



usual amplifications, we are told, St. Brigid 
spoke, before that natural period arrived, 
when infants usually articulate. Such ac 
count, hoVcver, is not contained in her 
other lives. Colgan refers to notes, ap 
pended to St. Fursey s Life at the i6th of 
January, and to other particulars, which 
serve to accompany that of St. Barr, at the 
25th of September, for parallel instances of 
children, who spoke soon after their birth, 
and even in their mother s womb. 

:y In Wright s "Louthiana," parti., p. 
9, there is a very interesting description of 
certain ancient remains in this locality. Dr. 
Lanigan, who rejects the romantic narrative 
of St. Brigid s birth, agrees that she was 
born in Fochard. lie further observes : 
" Whether her coming into the world in 
that place was owing to her parents having 
had a residence there, or to their being on 
a visit at some friend s house, it is imma 
terial to enquire." " Ecclesiastical History 
of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. II, p. 
378, and n. 24, p. 382, ibid, 

160 St. Brigid was patron of that place, 
and in her honour a monastery of Canons 
hri l been established there, at a time when 
the Fourth Life had been written. See 
Colgan s "Trias" Thaumaturga," Quarta 
Vita S. Brigidse, lib. i., cap. vi., p. 547. 

161 Foughart is a parish in the diocese of 
Armagh. 

;62 St. Bernard in his " Vita S. Malachiae" 
writes ; " Venerunt tres Episcopi in villain 
Fochart, quern dicunt locum nativitatis 
Brigidoe virginis," &c., cap. xxv. , sec. 56. 

203 See the " Parliamentary Gazetteer of 
Ireland," vol. ii., pp. 197, 198, for an in 
teresting account of this parish. 



26 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



the Barony of Upper Dundalk, County of Louth, and Province of_Lemster. 
There too not only a church and a cemetery, dedicated to St. Bngid, were 
to be seen at a time when her Fourth Life had been written ; but, according 
to local tradition, they were situated even on the very site of that house, in 
which she had been born. 26 * This latter statement, with a slight emendation, 
is probably correct. It has been remarked, that the allusion to a monastery 
of Canons being at Foughart shows a remote antiquity when the author of 
her Fourth Life flourished ; for, many ages back, there had been no institute 
of the kind discoverable, nor any monastic house, specially dedicated to St. 
Brigid, at least from the period of the eleventh century.* The old church 
siteof Pochard is situated between the town of Dundalk and the church of 
Kilslieve, 266 being about two miles distant from either place. A holy woman, 
known as Monenna, 26 ? built a church here, at a very early period. 26 The 
exact situation of Fochard has been misplaced in some rccords. 26 s In the 
seventeenth century, this little village was called by the Irish-speaking peo 
ple Fochart Brighde, or " Fochart of Brigid." 2 

In the three previous lives of our Saint 2 ? 1 no mention is made concerning 
the place of her birth ; which is also the case, in the two latter lives, viz. : 
the Fifth and Sixth. Admitting, however, the usually assigned place, where 
the illustrious virgin is said to have been born, it seems likely enough, that 
old circular, cone-shaped Dun, 2 ? 2 which rises high 2 " over the adjoining fields 
on the very summit of Foughart Hill, about three miles north-west of Dun 
dalk, supported and protected the house of Dubtach. 2 ?* A circular level on 
the top was 40 feet in diameter, and around the circumference appears to 
have extended a wide breast-work of masonry, laid with mortar. 2 ^ At the 
southern sides, when broken, the foundations were clearly traceable. A deep 



26 At the rear of this church, the local other Leinster county, it seems certain, she 

habitants pointed out that identical stone, first saw light, in a certain village called 

on which, it was traditionally said, St. Fochart, in Louth county, in Armagh dio- 

Brigid first reposed after having come cese, and within the bounds of Ulster s 

into the world. The relic was held in ancient province. See Ussher " De Pri- 

especial veneration by inhabitants of the mordiis Ecclesiarum Britannicarum," pp. 

adjacent country, and through its instru- 627, 705, 706. Also, _ David Roth, in his 

mentality many miracles were reported to Dissertation on St. Brigid, p. 151, and an 

have been accomplished. Irish Life of St. Brigid, cap. iii. 

26 5 Nothing save the parish church at 7 They also called that district, in which 
Fochart was known in Colgan s time to it was situated, Machaire Airgiell. See 
have been placed under her special invoca- Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Appendix 
tion. See " Trias Thaumaturga," Quarta Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. v., p. 617. 
Vita S. Brigidce, lib. i., cap. vi., p. 547, 2?I As published by Colgan. 

and nn. 13, 14, p. 864, ibid. 2?2 Thomas Wright, in his day, correctly 

266 Some ruins of a church are still re- describes it as "in the form of a frustrum 
maining at Kilslieve, but these are devoid of a cone."- -"Louthiana," book i., p. 9. 
of all architectural beauty. See "The There was formerly some sort of octagonal 
History of Dundalk and its Environs," by building upon the top, but whether it had 
John D Alton and J. R. O Flanagan, p. been a tower or parapet breast high, there 
279. was not wall enough left to determine, a 

^ See her Life at the 6th of July. little after the middle of the last century. 

268 Conchobranus, in "Vita S. Monennce," 2 " About 60 feet, according to Wright, 

says, that this holy woman first built a but it is certainly of a lesser altitude, 

church at Fochart, where the nativity of St. 2?4 Two curious copper-plate illustrations 

Brigid took place. of this Dun, with the shape of the upper 

26 9 The English Martyrology, at the 1st fort-like works, are contained on Plate xiv. 

of February, and other authorities, state, of book i. in "Louthiana." 

that our Saint was born in the County of 2?5 In May, 1874, the writer visited this 

Kildare, and at a place called Fochart. spot, and found it nearly in a perfect state, 

But Fochart is not within the limits of that except towards the south, where a portion 

county. However, if it be allowed, St. of its sides had been removed for manure. 
Brigid had been conceived in that, or in any 



LIFE Of ST. BRIGID. 



27 



circular fosse surrounded the lower ascent of this high Dun, 2 ? 6 from the top 
of which a magnificent view of the bay and town of Dundalk, with the 
sublime crags of the Carlingford mountains, extending far into the sea, 
towards the north and east, can be obtained. 27 Near this Dun, in the 
townland and parish of Faughart, on the very summit of a rising hill, are the 
ruins of St. Brig-id s old church. ^ The entire length was 24 yards, and the 




Church KUHU at Foughart, Co. Louth. 

breadth 7 yards interiorly, in 1836 ; an inside gable stood at a distance of 
about 10 yards from the east gable. 27 This latter was demolished to within 
three feet of the ground, in the middle part, the sides being lower. Only a 
small part of the south side-wall, towards the east gable, stands. 2So The 
remainder, to the middle gable, was levelled with the ground. The north side- 



276 Thomas Wright states, " in all proba 
bility, it may originally have been a Funeral 
Monument, and in latter days formed into a 
Beacon or Fort, either as an out Guard to 
defend the said Frontier," (i. c. , of the old 
English Pale), "or signify the Approach of 
an Enemy." " Louthiana," book i., p. 9. 

277 Mr. John Craig, who rented an adjoin 
ing farm, told the writer, that in the field 
next this Dun, while ploughing, the hoofs 
of a horse sunk through some flag stones. 
On examination of the spot, a remarkable 
zig-zag-shaped earth-cave was discovered. 
After removing some of the covering stones, 
he descended into it, and found it regularly 
walled on the sides. Barely stooping, he 
was enabled to pass through it for several 
yards, covering flags being over his head. 
He saw several specimens of "crockery 



ware," within the cave, through which his 
further progress was checked by its being 
choked by earth and stones, in one particu 
lar place. The extent of these remarkable 
caves, he pointed out to the writer, on the 
surface of the ground above, and he ex 
pressed the greatest desire that they should 
be carefully explored by gentlemen com 
petent to describe them. 

278 The people in 1836 called it CeV pull 
-<\i|vo, " the high church," and it was also 
designated CCA pull bfu g oe n-A li-dijvoe 
imnpe, " Brigid s Church of the great 
height." 

-~ r) This inner gable has since fallen. 
Bo The accompanying engraving by Wil 
liam Oldham, 8 Gloucester-street, Dublin, 
is from a sketch by the author, and taken on 
the spot, in May, 1874. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



wall was reduced to about 7 feet in height, east of the middle gable. 8 The 
western length to the middle gable was about 14 yards; the side-walls 
height, in this part, is about 14 feet. On the south side-wall was a breach 
near the middle gabled The west gable had been reduced in height to 
the level of the side-walls ; while there is a breach on it, reaching from top 
to bottom, about 3 yards wide. On the north side-wall, about 7 feet from 
the ground, there was an opening, reaching to the top. Another opening 
next the middle gable, was to be seen, and about the same height - 
This ruinous pile of masonry, at present, is in a very dilapidated condition. 

The people of Foughart neighbourhood 2 ^ preserved a tradition, that 
this church had been built by St. Brigid especially the eastern part- 
although they knew not that here 285 was her birthplace. 28 ? The graveyard 
of Foughart is still much used for interments. The base of an old cross yet 
rises over the graves. This last resting-place of the dead is intimately asso 
ciated with the invasion of Ireland by King Robert Bruce 288 of Scotland, 2 ^ 
and by his brother Edward Brucc, 2 y who prosecuted it to a disastrous issue. 2 " 



281 About a yard in length retained the 
original height of 14 feet towards the mid 
dle ; it was lower towards the east gable. 

28 3 In 1836, seven feet from the ground 
was an opening reaching to the top. 

= 8 -* The foregoing is the substance of 
Messrs. P. O Keefe s and T. O Conor s 
description in a letter dated Dundalk, Feb 
ruary 1 5th, 1836, taken from " Louth 
Letters, containing information relative to 
the Antiquities of the County, collected 
during the Progress of the Ordnance Survey 
in 1835-1836," vol. L, pp. 285, 286. 

2g s In 1836. 

- 86 None of the inhabitants were able 
then to assign a signification for the word 



8 ? A few, who read St. Brigid s Life, 
said that she was born within 2^ miles of 
Dundalk, on a green near the old road, 
leading from the latter town to Newry. 
Then tradition had it, that she founded 
Foughart Church, where she remained 2.\ 
years, before she went to the nunnery at 
Kildare. Ibid, pp. 286, 287. 

288 In A.D. 1306, this heroic chieftain was 
forced to take refuge in the small Island of 
Rachlinn, off the northern coast of Antrim. 
In the spring of 1306, with a fleet of thirty- 
three galleys and about 300 men, he sailed 
for the Scottish coast, "and proceeded on 
that course of chivalrous conquest which led 
to the establishment of his country s inde 
pendence and his own deathless renown." 
About 700 of the northern Irish accompa 
nied him on this expedition, and these were 
led by his brothers, Thomas and Alexander. 
See Moore s " History of Ireland," vol. iii., 
chap, xxxvi., p. 52. 

2fc 9 The reader will recollect the allusion 
to his taking refuge in Ireland, as poetically 
recorded in Sir Walter Scott s " Lord of 
the Isles," canto iii., sec. xi. 

" The scheme," said Bruce, "contents me 
well ; 



Meantime twere best that Isabel 

For safety, with my bark and crew, 

Again to friendly Erin drew. 

There Edward, too, shall with her wend, 

In need to cheer her and defend, 

And muster up each scattered friend." 



"9 The old Scoto-Lnglish poem, "The 
Bruce ; or the Metrical History of Robert I. 
King of Scots," by Master John Barbour, 
Archdeacon of Aberdeen, contains the most 
detailed account of Edward Brace s career 
in Ireland, in Buke Tend, Buke Eleuenth, 
Buke Twelt, vol. i., pp. 277 to 368. This 
is published from a Manuscript dated 
M.CCCC.LXXXIX. See "The Bruce; and 
Wallace;" edited by John Jamieson, D.D., 
with notes, biographical sketches, and a 
glossary. In Two Volumes. Edinburgh, 
A.D. 1820, 410. 

^.That brilliant and decisive victory, 
achieved by the Scots over the English, at 
Bannockburn, in 1314, and to which allusion 
has been already made in the Life of St. 
Foilan, at the gth of January, had awakened 
for a kindred people warm sympathies, 
while it aroused ambition among the north 
ern Irish chieftains, to originate some effec 
tive means for obtaining national indepen 
dence. Proposing to Robert Bruce the 
propriety of making his brother, Edward, 
king of Ireland, they agreed to rally round 
the latter, immediately on his arriving in 
their country. As Edward had already 
demanded a share in the sovereignty of 
Scotland, King Robert eagerly inclined to 
the expressed wishes of these Irish chiefs, 
and made every preparation to organize a 
military and naval expedition, destined for 
the coasts of Ireland. Accordingly, on the 
26th of May, 13151 Edward Bruce landed 
on the shores of Antrim, with a fleet of 300 
sail and an army of Scots, estimated at 6,000 
men. Immediately on his arrival, the Irish 
of Ulster hastened in great numbers to fight 
under his standard. With united forces, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



29 



A hollow space between Faughart hill and Carrickbroad-^ 2 is pointed 
out as the spot where Bruce was killed, 2 93 i n that last desperate 



the Scots and Irish overran the whole pro 
vince of Ulster, within an incredibly short 
period. Dundalk, Ardee, with some other 
places in Louth, were taken and demolished 
by the invading forces and their allies. To 
oppose them, J )e Burgo, earl of Ulster, 
raised a large army, chietly in Connaught. 
He formed a junction with Sir Edmond 
Butler, the lord justice. The Scots and 
Iri>h crossed the river Bann, when they 
gave battle to the Earl of Ulster, at Connor. 
Here the Anglo-Irish leader was defeated, 
and afterwards he was forced to fly for pro 
tection towards the western province. Ed 
ward Bruce, who had already caused himself 
to be proclaimed king of Ireland, next be 
sieged the castle of Carrickfergus, where 
some of the defeated English had taken 
refuge. Hruce spent some time endeavour 
ing to reduce the stronghold of Carrickfer- 
gus ; yet, at last he raided the siege to 
proceed southwards, through the midland 
counties of Leinster. His advance caused 
the rising () f various native septs ; but the 
prevalence of famine at this time obliged 
the Scottish leader to retire upon Ulster. 
At the town of Kclls, he gave battle to 
15,000 English, under the command of Sir 
Roger Mortimer, who suffered an ignomi 
nious defeat. Illicit"., King Robert Bruce 
landed in Ireland with a great army to assist 
his brother Edward, and with united forces 
the garrison of Carrickfergus, after a brave 
and protracted defence, was compelled to 
surrender. Robert liruce, accompanied by 
a large army of Scots and Irish, advanced 
to Dublin, where he arrived about the close 
of February, 1317. The Anglo-Irish deni 
zens were in a state of consternation, but 
lost no time in making energetic preparations 
for defence. The English and Irish appear 
to have been almost equally demorali/ed 
and disorganized, during the progress of 
these transactions. The suburbs of Dublin 
were burnt down by the citi/ens, to prevent 
their invaders from finding there a shelter 
on approaching. Richard," Earl of Ulster, 
now advanced in years, was arrested on 
suspicion of having favoured the cause of 
J .ruce, whilst DeLacy joined his forces with 
the Scots and Irish. King Robert Bruce, 
however, on finding the metropolis so 
strongly fortified and so resolutely defended 
by its Anglo-Irish garrison, deemed it a 
useless waste of time and valour to attempt 
its reduction by the slow process of a siege. 
Conducting his army southwards through 
Kildare, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Limerick, 
he burned and plundered the English foun 
dations, civil and ecclesiastical, wherever 
he passed. Famine, pressing sorely on this 
desolated country, disconcerted his plans. 
Although the English mustered a force of 



30,000 men to surprise and harass the King 
of Scotland, they did not, however, venture 
to risk a decisive engagement with him. 
About the commencement of May, Robert 
liruce was obliged to retreat upon Ulster, 
lie soon afterwards set sail for Scotland, 
leaving his brother Edward to sustain the 
cause, in which his fortunes were embarked. 
This retreat of the Scots and Irish, into the 
northern province, allowed the English an 
opportunity for making many successful 
diversions around the borders of their own 
settlements. In the year 1318, Edward 
liruce raised a small army, with which he 
advanced to Eoughart, near Dundalk. 
Here he was opposed and defeated by John 
Birmingham, at the head of an English 
force, which had marched from Dublin. 
See the Author s "Catechism of Irish His 
tory," lesson xv., pp. 153 to 158. 

Some written accounts state, that Ed 
ward Bruce s body had been divided into 
quarters, and had been sent for exhibition 
all over the country. See Moore s " His 
tory of Ireland, vol. iii., chap, xxxvi., p. 
71. I his, however, does not appear to be 
confirmed on any good authority, and the 
local tradition is prokibly correct, that the 
headless body had been buried in Foughart 
graveyard. Near this cemetery, the inha 
bitants point out a spot, where Bruce s 
horse was buried, and it is said, the bones 
of this animal were even discovered, on 
digging for them. 

; lhe Rev. Dr. Drummond s Poem, 
of no special merit, however, and intituled, 
"Bruce s Invasion of Ireland," describes 
the progress of the Scottish leader, and his 
linal defeat. An idea of its measure and 
style may be gleaned from the following 
lines, relating to the mustering of Irish 
chiefs and tribes to his standard : 

Blood-royal O Connor his infantry guides 

From regions beyond where the broad 
Shannon glides ; 

Creat monarch of streams, that from up 
land and dell, 

And a thousand steep mountains, his wide 
current swell ; 

By cities, lakes, forests, and fields rich 
with grain, 

Sweeping on with his sail-covered tides 
to the main." 

" With these comes O Mailey, well-versed 

in sea-wiles, 
The lord of Craig-Uilc, a prince of the 

isles ; 
Of th Arrans, where health-wafting gales 

ever blow, 
And Bovin, with fat lowing herds, white 

as snow, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



battle, which he fought on the i 4 th of October, A.D. 1318, * at Foughart. * 
Many of his chieftains and soldiers, Irish and Scots, fell in this short but 
decisive conflict. 2 * 6 Although during the course of three years, 2 *? pending 
which lie waged war in Ireland, Edward Bruce had encountered the English 
armies in eighteen successive and victorious battles, 2 * 8 their great numerical 
superiority at the battle of Foughart caused victory to favour the arms ot 
England from the very first onset. 2 ** From the south-west corner < 
church, and removed about four yards, the grave of Edward Bruce is shown.3 
The authentication, however, is only sustained by a popular tradition. 
About the middle of the last century, St. Brigid s Stone, having a raised 
work about it in the form of a horse-shoe, was to be seen at Foughart. 3 In 
the middle was a rough rocky flint, on which with bared knees penitents 
were accustomed to kneel. Raised upon two circular and concentric steps 
was elevated St. Brigid s pillar. ^ Only the circular stones are now noticeable 
within the graveyard^ These are singularly suggestive of having been the 
base of a round tower. The burial-ground is well enclosed with a fine 
fence and a quick-set hedge of grown hawthorns. It rises high over the 
adjacent fields. North-west of the old church, and within the graveyard 
enclosure, is shown " St. Brigid s Well."34 It was dried up,3 s when visited 



And a thousand green islets, with foam 

girdled bright, 
Like gems chased in silver, and glistening 

in light." 

" As birds to the prey that come rushing 

from far, 
They speed to enjoy the grand pastime of 

war ; 
Proud Flaiths on whose helmets gemmed 

coronets shine ; 
Proud Tanists with baldrics enriched by 

the mine." 

This Poem was issued in a small I2mo 
volume, at Dublin, in 1826. 

294 According to John Fordun s " Scoti- 
chronicon," vol. ii., lib. xii., cap. xxxvii. , 
p. 271, Walter Goodall s Edition. 

295 Authors differ greatly in their account 
both of the numbers engaged, and of those 
who fell. Barbour, whose object it was to 
pay all possible honour to the valour of his 
countrymen, says that Brace s army con 
tained about 2,000 men, not including his 
Irish auxiliaries ; and that they Were oppo 
sed by the overwhelming multitude of 40,000. 
Bruce, at his landing, had 6,000 men, and 
he afterwards received reinforcements from 
Scotland. Now, though he sustained some 
loss from the sword, famine, and other 
casualties of war, it is scarcely credible that 
his forces were reduced to one-third. The 
Irish annals compute his numbers at 3,000 ; 
but Ware says that 8,274 fell in the field, 
and that they were opposed by only 1,324 
men-at-arms. Walsingham states the num 
ber of the slain to be 5,800, besides 29 barons 
and knights. The Anglo-Irish army is not 
said to have sustained any loss beside that 
of Maupus. See "Brace s Invasion of Ire 
land," note viii., pp. 113, 114. 



196 Relative to the issue of this battle, we 
are told in "The Bras," writ be Master 
Johne Barbour : 

" And tha that at the fkhting wer 
Socht Schir Eduard to get his hed 
Emang the folk that thar was ded." 

Sec. cxxxn., 11. 200 to 202. The Spald- 
ing Club Edition, edited by C. Innes, p. 
423. Aberdeen, 1856, 4to. 

-97 An interesting account of this Irish 
expedition of the Braces is given in Sir Da 
vid Dalrymple s (Lord Hailes ) " Annals of 
Scotland," vol. ii., pp. 60 to 82. Edin 
burgh, A.D. 1776, 1779, 4to. 

^ See Barbour s "Bruce," book xii. 

299 See Thomas Moore s " History of 
Ireland," vol. iii., chap, xxxvi., p. 70. 

3 In 1836, his tomb was pointed out on 
the west end of the grave ; the remainder 
being concealed in the ground. Then it lay 
nearly horizontal, but sinking slightly to 
the east side. It was said to have been 
covered by notches, one of which was then 
visible. 

301 This object seems to have disappeared. 

3- Thomas Wright informs us, that the 
nuns of the convent used to go upon their 
knees on particular occasions ; sometimes 
around the lesser and sometimes around the 
larger circles, as their penitence required. 
See " Louthiana," book iii., p. 19. 

303 Views of all the foregoing curious ob 
jects are preserved for us in Plate xx., book 
iii., of Wright s " Louthiana," while in 
addition there is a ground plan of St. 
Brigid s quadrangular church in the grave 
yard. 



3 s This, we were told, was the result of 
some previous desecration. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



by the writer,^ 5 but a 
pyramidical structure of 
stone and mortar, over a 
square aperture, remain 
ed. 3 ? It is on a sloping 
part of the burial- 
ground, and surrounded 
by thickly-matted thorn 
bushes. 

In the Parish of 
Foughart, there are five 
remarkable Moats. 
Three 308 of these are on 
the townland of Upper 
Faughart ; another Moat 
is in Lower Faughart, 3 9 
while one is onRoskeagh 
townland. 310 

All writers are agreed, 
that St. Brigid s birth 
cannot be very distantly 
removed from the mid 
dle of the fifth century. 
But authorities differ as 
to the exact date. Some 
writers as for instance 
the Bollandists 3 " place 
it so early as the year 
436 or 437. 312 The 
" Annals of Dublin " 
and the " Annals of 
Ross, 3 3 with Friar John 
1 * and Dr. Mere- 




Si.. Brigid s Well, Faughart. 



306 In May, 1874. 

307 The accompanying illustration was 
drawn on the spot by V. George Du Noyer, 
and transferred to wood from his sketches 
in the R. I. A. by Gregor Grey, of Dublin, 
who also engraved it. 

:i 8 One is called 111 OCA VACA^C ; another 
is denominated ITIocA .\n c-feAn ouinc ; 
while the other has no distinguishing name. 

309 This is called 1U\c p,ileAft. 

310 This is styled 111 OCA 1U\c fJoAr. Sec 
" Louth Letters, containing Information 
relative to the Antiquities of the County, 
collected during the Progress of the Ordnance 
Survey in 1835-1836," vol. i., p. 294. 

311 Tillemont properly remarks, they had 
no sufficient grounds for their statements or 
conjectures. These they were obliged to 
adopt, because they supposed St. Brigid 
had interviews with St. Patrick, and that he 
had requested her to weave a shroud for 
him. 

312 This circumstance of St. Brigid weav 
ing St. Patrick s shroud is assigned by 



Henschenius and Papebrochius, to A. i>. 

458, to make it accord with their hypothesis 
regarding St. Patrick s death occurring, as 
they suppose, in 460. Their predecessor 
Bollandus, who admitted the circumstance, 
relating to friendship existing between St. 
Patrick and St. Brigid (" Acta Sanctorum, 
Februarii," torn. i. , i. Februarii), was not 
obliged to antedate St. Brigid s birth. For, 
with Ussher, he supposed the former to 
have lived until the year 493. "Now the 
successors of Bollandus, when they rejected 
this date, should have rejected also what 
has been said about the shroud, &c., and 
thus would not have been reduced to assign, 
in opposition to the best authorities, her 
birth to the time above mentioned, and her 
death to 506 or 517." See Dr. Lanigan s 
" Ecclesiastical History of Ireland," vol. i., 
chap, viii., sec. ii., p. 378, and n. 25, pp. 
382, 383, ibid. 

313 See Ussher s " Britannicarum Ecclesi- 
arum Antiquitates," cap. xvii. , p. 459. 

3M See this Tract of his published by the 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



dilh Hanmer,3 5 have 439. Another calculation should make her first sec the 
light in 443-3 16 The " Annals of Roscrea" note this event at A.D. 449- 31 . 7 . A 
judicious Irish historian considers, that including A.D. 451 and 458, St. Bngid s 
birth must have occurred at some time within such era. Following Ussher s 
computation, affixing her birth to A.D. 453, 3l8 Dr. Lanigan appears to_concur. 
The " Annals of Cambrian s date it at A.D. 454. The " Annals of Imsfallen 
give A.D. 456 in the opinion of some writers. 320 In the "Annals of Senat 
Mac Magnus," said to have been compiled by Charles Maguire, authors are 
cited for assigning the holy Virgin s birth to A.D. 45 7. 321 Henry of Marl- 
borough brings this event to so late a period as 468. 322 

According to his computation, St. Brigid was only twelve years of age, 
when St. Patrick died, if we adopt Dr. Lanigan s opinion ; and the same 
writer supposes, our Saint might have been known to the Apostle of Ireland, 
at a very early age, in consequence of her singular sanctity having become 
conspicuous, and as she was derived from an illustrious family. But, it is 
thought, she could not have become a professed nun at that time, nor have 
already founded any religious house. 323 During St. Patrick s lifetime, 
according to the most consistent and authentic acts of both Saints, the same 
historian remarks, that Brigid is not represented as having been a consecrated 
Virgin. However minute, in all matters relating to St. Patrick, his Tripartite 
Life only mentions St. Brigid on one occasion. ^ There it is related, that, 
when listening, together with a vast number of people, to a sermon of his, 
she fell asleep and had a vision relative to the then state of the Irish Church 
and to its future vicissitudes, as expounded by St. Patrick. He, knowing 
that she had a vision, desired her, after she awoke, to tell what she saw. 
The Saint replied, that at first she beheld a herd of white oxen amidst white 
crops, then spotted ones of various colours, after which appeared _black and 
dark-coloured oxen. These were succeeded by sheep and swine, wolves 
and dogs jarring with each othcr. 32 5 There appears to be no good reason 

Irish Archaeological Society. " Quadrin- 3 " So states Us.sher in "Britannicarum 

gentesimo 39. Nascitur beata virgo Bri- Kcclesiarum Antiquitates,"cap. xvii., p-459- 

gicla." " Annales Hiberniffi," p. 4. However, in Henry Marleburrough s 

3<5 In his " Chronicle of Ireland," p. 89. "Chronicle of Ireland," as published by the 

Other writers assume the same date, as in Ilibernia Press Company, 410, in 1809, we 

" Vetusto libro Chromellice," quoted by find no such notice, and there his Chronicle 

Ussher. See " Britannicarum Ecclesiarum commences with A.D. 1285, ending with 

Antiquitates," cap. xvii., p. 459. A.D. 1421. 

3 l6 Colgan remarks, that according to an 3*3 " The lowest age, which I find to have 

opinion, not improbable, St. Brigid lived to been allowed in those times in any part of 

be eighty years. Hence, as it is very the Church for taking the veil, was that_ of 

generally supposed, she died on February 16 or 17 years. (St. Basil, Ep. Canotnca, 

1st, A.D. 523, her birth must naturally be can. 18.) The African Canons fixed it at 

referred to A.D. 443. See "Trias Thau- 25; and this regulation became very general 

maturga," Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. in the "Western Church. Yet even in the 

Brigidiie, cap. ix., p. 620. countries where it was received, it might 

3 1 ? See ibid, have been dispensed with in certain cases. 

318 See "Index Chronologicus," at A.D. (See Gilbert, Corp. J. Can., torn, ii., p. 
CCCCLIII., p. 520. 4 10 )-" L>r. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical His- 

31 9 The "Annales Cambria:," supposed tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. II, 
by the editor, Rev. John Williams ab Ithel, n. 27, p. 383. 

to be perhaps the oldest chronicle of Welsh 3 =4 g ee Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," 

affairs extant, places her birth at A.D. 454. Scptima Vita S. Fatricii, lib. iii., cap. iv., 

See Preface, p. ix. and p. 3. pp. 149, 150. 

320 See "Annales Inisfalcnses," p. 3, 3=5 See also Jocelyn s, or Sexta Vita S. 
tomus ii. Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- Fatricii, cap. xciv., xcv., Colgan s "Trias 
carum Scriptores." Thaumaturga," pp. 86, 87. Dr. Lanigan 

321 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," adds :" In this narrative there is nothing 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidce, cap. repugnant to the ways of the Almighty, 
ix., p. 620. who has been often pleased to impart to 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 33 

for admitting, that during the illustrious Apostle s life-time, St. Erigid had 
been abbess of a monastery, nor concerning her having woven that shroud 
in which St. Patrick s body was enveloped after death, and at his own parti 
cular request. 3* Still more, it must be observed, that neither Co^itosus 
nor the author of the first or of the fifth Life, has a single word about it. 
What is very remarkable, moreover, these never once mention St. Patrick 
notwithstanding the care, with which they collected whatever could redound 
to the honour of St. Erigid. Had she enjoyed those frequent interviews, or 
kept up a correspondence with St. Patrick, or attended him at his death, it 
is scarcely possible, that those writers, who are evidently her most ancient 
biographers, should have been quite silent on such material points. 

From her very childhood, we are told, she had been accustomed to an 
excellent course of instruction ; and, as she grew up, this holy maiden pre 
sented each day some fresh proof of religious decorum and modesty. In 
all things, she conformed to the inspirations of I )ivine Grace. Her very name 
seemed pre-ordained to indicate her future spiritual stated The story is 
told of her, that when she was a mere child, playing at holy things, she got 
a smooth slab of stone which she tried to set up as a little altar ; then a 
beautiful angel joined in her play, and made wooden legs to the altar, and 
bored four holes in the stone, into which the legs might be driven, so as to 
make it stand. 32 Such legends as these although inexactly preserved 
usually attest a life of virtue, from the cradle to the" grave. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE SCOTCH CLAIM TO ST. BRIGID s BIRTH EXAMINED PROBABLE ORIGIN OF THIS 
ERROR REFUTATION EARLY AM) ST I l.KN ATCKAI. INDICATIONS OF URIGID s 

SANCTITY HER SPIRIT OF ] K< )I I I KC V MAM FKSTED HF.R INFANTILE VIRTUES 

HER PROBABLE ACQUAINTANCE WITH ST. PATRICK DURING CHILDHOOD HER RE 
SOLUTION TO LIVE A VIRGIN HER CHARACTERISTICS AND COMPARISON TO THK 
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY HY THE IRISH. 

IT must appear strange, at the present day, to understand, that some of the 
mediaeval Scotch chroniclers and historians reputed St. Erigid to have been 
a native of modern Scotland. This idea probably arose from the fact, that 
ancient writers of her Acts stated her having been born, her having lived, and 



J .nfans f,-M\-s, what may we not expect 

held from the learned and wise of this world. from the omnipotence of God in the order 
It was thus that while the chief priests and of grace?" " Ecclesiastical History of Ire- 
scribes remained in their infidelity, the chil- land," vol. i., chap. viii., n. 28 pp. 383 
dren cried out, Hosanna to the Sot cf David, 384. 

through a Divine impulse, as appears from - This circumstance is mentioned, in the 

our Saviour s answer to those wiseacres; Tertia Vita S. Brigidrc, cap. lx., p. 534; 

And they said to him ; hearest thou what in the Quarta Vita S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. 

these say/ Jesus replied; Yes: have you xxx., p. 554; and in the Sexta Vita S. 

never read, that out of the month of injants Brigidre, sec. xlvi., p. 592. 
and sucking babes tJwu hast perfected praise? "So Laurence of Durham appears to 

Matt. xxi. 1 6. St. Brigid might have been think ; while Colgan remarks, that Brigh, 

at that time ten or eleven years old, an age meaning "virtue," is likely to have been 

fully sufficient to render her in the hands of the original Irish source for the name Brigida 

God, an instrument fit for displaying the or Brigid. See "Trias Thaumaturga," 

wonderful effects of 1 1 is grace and II is know- Ouinta Vita S. Brigida;, cap. viii., and n. 

ledge of all things. If in what is called the 10, pp. 569, 640. 

order of nature we find so many children of * See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s " Lives of 

extraordinary precocity in learning, so many the Saints," vol. ii., February i, p. 17. 

D 




, 4 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



her having died in Scotia. Yet by such term, those do not refer to any other 
country except our own island. Among Scottish authors, who claim our illus 
trious patroness as their countrywoman, may be specially mentioned John 
Major 1 and Hector Boece. 2 Both Camerarius- and Dempster* assert, that she 
was born and that she died, in Albania or British Scotia. 1 1 has been generally 
advanced by old writers, that she was of Scottish race. Thus, George Garn- 
teld s or Garnefelt, Antonio Possevino, 6 Raphael Yolaterranus,? Sigebert Gem- 
blacensis 8 and Marianus* write. That St. Hrigid was born in Scotia is an opinion 
formed by Antonius Sabellicus,- by Petrus de Natalibus," and by a writer 
of the general Chronicles of the World. Sigebert tells us, she died in the 
same country at the year 578, and the Chronicle, entitled, "Rudimentum 
Novitiorunv" has her death at A.D. 520. Her Natalis, indeed, has been oh 
served in Scotia, on the ist of February. This may be found among nearly 
all Ila-iologists and Martyrologists. It is noted in the Roman Martyrplogy, 
and in the Martyrologies of T.ede, Usuard, Ado, Viennen., Rodulphus Riyius, 
and the Carthusian ^Martyrology. Galesinus and many other writers both 
Irish and forei-ni, allow, that our saint was a native ot Scotia. \ et, although 
this be admitted, it will not follow, however, that St. Brigid was born in 
British Scotia, or that her ancestors were natives of that country. ^ On the 
contrary, evidence is afforded, that the island known as Hiberma, had been 
called Scotia, by ancient writers of every condition, age, and nation." ^\ e 
are told, that previous to the eleventh century, no one thought of calling that 
part of Britain, now known as Scotland, by the name ot Scotia. \\ nters 
usually called it Albania. All who mentioned Scotia to the period designated 
understood Scotia as applicable to an island, 1 - situated between Britain and 
Spain. 1 * If all other arguments were wanting in support of such a position, 
various passages, foumfin the old acts of St. Brigid, should be sufficient _ to 
establish it. For by birth and descent, this holy virgin was evidently a native 
of Ireland ; she died there ; and she was particularly venerated in our island. 



CHAr ii See "IlistoriaMajoris r>ri- Dempster to have, "in memlicabulis re- 

tannue, tarn Anglic, quam Scotia>," lib. ii., pressis Hibernorum," vindicated our ht. 

cap. xiv., \\ 85. Edinburgh edition, A.D. Brigid s fame for Scotland. 

1740," 4 to. 5 s " " De vita Eremitica, p. 223. 

2 See "Scotorum Historic, a prhna 5 See " Apparatus bacer, p. 252. 

gent is origine," c., lib. ix., fol. clxiiii. ? Commentariorum. Ad annum 521, hh. 

Prelum Ascensianum, fol. xxu, p. 035. 

3 See " IV Statu llominis, Veteris simul s See " Chronicon, ad annum 516. bee 
ac nov;-e Keclesi.v, et Inhdelium Conver- " Monumenta Germanias Histonca, tomus 
sione," lib. i., cap. iii., see. ii. Camerarius vi., p. 314. _ 

cites many authorities, yet these only prove 9 In his "Chronicle at A.D. 521, ttod., 

she was a " Vir^o Seota." Among such tomus v. 

authorities are quoted, Rodulphus de Breda, I0 See " /Enead, vui., lib. n. __ 

Tungrensis Diaconus " In Calendario Gene- "See "Catalogus Sanctorum, lib. m., 

rali." Massivus, "In Clironico," lib. xii. cap. Ixix. 

Franciscus Rosier " Stemmatum l.othar- = Almost the sole exception is Dempster. 

inguv," tomus iii. Gualterius, " In Chrono- With his follower Camerarius, that unac- 

loi, io." Genebrardus "In C hronieo." Ri- countable chronographer and chorographer 

badeneira " In Vitis Sanctorum." IVlrio, maintains an opposite opinion with a fantasy 

"Disquisis. Magic," tomus ii., lib. iv. fa- peculiar to himself. 

cobus Gretserus in his preface to "Com- - This Colgan promised to prove from 

mentar. Exegetici in Serenissimum Jacobum ancient and modern writers, belonging to 

Magnx Britannia) Regem. Theuetus every age and nation, in a volume where he 

" Cosmog," lib. xvi., in" his description of intended to illustrate solely the ecclesiastical 

Scotia. See pp. 140, 141. antiquities of Ireland. This work, however, 

4 See " Ilistoria Ecclesiastica Gentis Sco- he did not live to publish. 

torum," tomus i., lib. ii., p. 82. Edinburgh I4 In accord with a prevailing geographical 

edition, 1829, 410. Camerarius supposes notion of the early and middle ages. 



LIFE OF ST. BR1GID. 



35 



Hence, as a consequence, when ancient writers mention her country as Scotia, 
it is certain they must have meant Ireland. 

Dempster most strangely asserts, that St. Brigid was born in Laudonia, a 
province of Albanian Scotia.^ Now, by St. Columkille, Apostle of Al 
banian Scotia, and patron of Scotia Major or Hibernia, she is called our 
Saint of Lagenia. It may be objected, with Dempster, that when writers 
treat about St. Brigid and her parents, the word Lagenia or Lageniensis are 
everywhere incorrectly used for Laudenia, Ladenensis or Laudianensis. 6 
Hut this is clearly a foolish and blind subterfuge. Can he find in this 
Laudenia, Kildare, Campus Leiffe, Campus Gessille, Campus Bregh, with 
many other Irish names and places, which as the author of her Third Life 1 ? 
relates are in St. Brigid s country, and which are well known to be situated 
within the Irish province of Leinster ? Can he find, in his Scotia, the town 
Macha or Armagh, the ecclesiastical metropolis of Ireland, or the great river 
Sinann, 3 which turns its course from Albanian Scotia, and which Irom near 
Clanawley district, runs through the middle of Ireland, into the ocean ? 
Both are placed by this same author in the Scotia of St. Brigid s birth. 1 9 
Dempster falsely assigns to his Scotia these places, and others mentioned 
by him, such as Campus Femhin, Campus Cliach, Arx Lethglass. More 
over, very few writers, at the present day, even if ignorant regarding the 
situation and obscure nomenclature of the places just mentioned, will be 
foolish enough to claim for Scotland, all the other Irish provinces, vi/. : 
Media, 20 Connacia,- 1 Lagenia, 2 - Ultonia, 2 ^ Mummonia.- -* So long as these 
are left us, we can still lay claim to Hibernia, Brigid and Scotia. 2 5 Again, 
all the circumstances related, regarding her parentage, 16 birth, 2 ? receiving the 



15 St. Cogitosus, in the first chapter of her 
life, says, that St. Brigid was horn in Scotia, 
and descended from the good and honour 
able family of L thech, her father being 
named Dubtach, and her mother Brocessa. 
By the Scotia here mentioned, it is evident, 
Scotia Major, or Ireland, must be intended ; 
as well because no author who flourished 
before the time of Cogitosus, nor any writer 
who lived 400 years after him, understood 
that any other country save Ireland had re 
ceived this name of Scotia, as also, because 
Fthech s family flourished in Hibernia, and 
not in Scotia Minor or Albania. Again, 
the same author mentions a celebrated 
church of St. Brigid at Kildare, which he 
greatly extols in his prologue, and most ac 
curately describes in the 351!! chapter of her 
Life. In this church, he tells us, St. Brigid 
was interred. He also names a most exten 
sive plain of Bu.;, in the 2yth chapter. 
Other bishops of Ireland are alluded to in 
this same life, as likewise in its prologue, 
when the words, Scotia and Ilibernia, Scoti 
and Hibernienses are used as synonymous 
terms. 

16 See " Ilistoria Ecclesiastica Gentis Sco- 
torum," tomus i., lib. ii., pp. 82, 84. 

J ? Attributed by Colgan to St. Ultan. 
See " Trias Thaumaturga." Tertia Vita S. 
Brigidre, cap. xlvii., li., hi., liv., Ixii., Ixiv. 
Many other references might be made. 

18 Now the Shannon. 



"> See //</(/., cap. Ixii., xcvii. 

50 Now Meath. 

- Now Connaught. 

22 Now Leinster. 
" Now Ulster. 
" 4 Now Minister. 

23 Sec Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Appendix Ouarta ad Acta S. Urigidaj, cap. 
iv., pp. 614, 615. 

- In his Life of our saint, and in the first 
chapter, when speaking of her father, St. 
Ultan tells u>, that he was a certain Dubtach, 
go ten J.ii^aiii>i.<is, \c. He states, that St. 
Brigid s mother had been sold to a certain 
Magus belonging to the family of Neill and 
to the territory of Meath, at a time when 
she bore our saint in her womb (cap. 3). 
Animosus, or the author of St. Brigid s 
Fourth Life, informs us, that there was a 
glorious king in Ireland named Fedhlimid 
Reach . :nar, see lib. i. , cap. i., how Lochad 
Fionn, brother to this same king, had mi 
grated to Leinster, and that there Dubtach, 
St. Brigid s father, descended from him. 
See ibid. 

-i The author of the Fourth Life of St. 
Brigid tells us, how a certain poet from the 
northern part of Ireland bought Brosaech 
the mother of St. Brigid, during a time 
when she was pregnant (cap. 4) ; and when 
treating about the place of our saint s birth, 
he assures us, that it was a town named 
Fochart llurthcmne, of Conaille Muirthem- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



veil personal connexions, 25 the places she visited, 2 * the houses she founded, 
and where she died,3 can only have reference to Ireland. 3 Besides all this, 
the unanimous opinions and traditions of the Irish and of every other foreign 
nation tend to establish most conclusively, that the illustrious and super- 
eminent vir<nn,3" called even " the Mary of Ireland, ^ had been ever con 
tinuously and specially regarded as a native and great patron saint m our 
country. 

At the present day, it would prove quite superfluous to enter upon any 
enquiry as to the country of St. Brigid s birth ; a weight of historical autho 
rity and universal popular tradition fully vindicating the claims of Ireland to 
this honour. Yet, it appears, Colgan thought it necessary, in his time, to 
devote a rather lengthened dissertation to establish a position controverted 
by certain writers.:* In order to expose Dempster s misstatements, and 
those of other Brito-Scottish writers, he addresses many arguments, although 
dubious, if it would not seem diminishing the force of manifest truth by 
proving a self-evident proposition. In .the first place, that she was of Irish 
descent and bom in Ireland, had been established by authorities numerously 
cited. Foreign as well as domestic writers bear abundant testimony to the 
fact that St. Brig-id was a native of our island. Thus Raban,3S Notkaiy 6 St. 



hne district, in the province of Ulster (cap. 
6). See Usshcr, " De Primordiis Ecclesi- 
arum Britannia," cap. xvi., p. 706. 

28 It can he shown, by referring to their 
descent, festivals, places, and days of vene 
ration, that many saints, allied to St. Brigid, 
were Irish. 

2 9 The author of St. Brigid s Third Life- 
thought by Colgan to be St. Ultan states, 
that St. Brigid was born in the country and 
house of a Magus (cap. 4) ; that this identical 
Magus went with the infant to Connaught, 
so soon as she was born (cap. 5) ; and, in 
the following chapter, he relates, how the 
child had been brought up in Connaught, 
until she had become a grown maiden. He 
tells us, how she returned to Lagenia, 
where her father lived (cap. n) ; how she 
was called another Mary, at a certain synod, 
assembled in the plain of the Liffey, in which 
Kildare is situated (cap. 14) ; how, in com 
pany with her father, she left the house of 
this latter to visit the King of Leinster, in 
the Liffey s great plain (cap. 90). He re 
lates, how she had received the veil in that 
land, belonging to the Niall family (cap. 1 8), 
and which is identical with Meath, as after 
wards indicated (cap. 21). He also records, 
in the following chapters, what she achieved 
in different countries and provinces of Ire 
land, as for instance, in Theba (cap. 29) ; 
how she accompanied St. Patrick to the 
northern part of Ireland, called Ulster, and 
what she did at the Castle of Lethglass and 
in the town of Macha (cap. 57, 60, 61) ; 
how she went with Bishop Ere, of Munster 
descent, into the southern province of Ire 
land (cap. 71) ; how returning to the ex 
treme bounds of Leinster, she entered the 
Labrathi country (cap. Si), and how in fine, 
returning to her father s house, she saved 
him from impending death (cap. 87). We 
have already seen, that in a hymn subjoined 



to St. Ultan s Life of our saint, she is said 
to have been distinguished in that island, 
" quse vocatur Hibernia," &c. If St. Brigid 
had been born in Britain, is it not strange, 
that St. Ultan, in no place, speaks of her 
birth, education, religious profession, &c., 
as having occurred there, while these inci 
dents, and special localities already men 
tioned, are referable alone to Ireland ? Nor 
does he even indicate, in one single instance, 
that she had ever left our island. 

3 In his Life of our saint, when describing 
the church of Kildare in Leinster, Cogitosus 
tells us, that St. Brigid was buried in it 
(cap. xxxv.). And, towards the end of her 
Acts, Animosus says, that she died, and was 
buried in Ireland (lib. ii., cap. xcix.). 
Blessed Marianus Scotus, in his Chronicle, 
at the year 521, writes, " S. Brigida Scota 
Virgo in Hibernia diem clausit extremum." 
3 These reliable writers, St. Cogitosus, 
St. Cormac, archbishop, Animosus, Keat 
ing, and others, exhibit this fact sufficiently, 
when introducing her paternal and maternal 
genealogies. 

3 3 St. ^Engus calls her a "bright Virgin 
and chief of holy Irishwomen," in his Festi- 
logy, at the 1st of February. In like manner, 
Marianus O Gorman, at the same date, 
styles her " Chief- Virgin or Chief of the 
Virgins of Ireland." 

33 Among Irish authorities may be enu 
merated, St. Ibar, an Irish Apostle, who 
calls St. Brigid, "Mary of the Irish," when 
she came from the house of her father Dub- 
tach to that synod, assembled at Kildare, 
in Leinster. 

34 Such as Dempster and Camerarius. 

35 In his Martyrology, at the 1st of Feb 
ruary, Raban says, " In Hibernia nativitas 
S. Brigidas. " 

3 6 In his Martyrology, St. Notkar enters 
at the same day: "In Hibernia nativitas 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



37 



Bernard, 3 ? Florence of Worcester, 38 John Capgrave, 3 ? Francis Hare, 40 
Zacharias Lippeloo, 41 Cornelius Grassius/ 2 the English Martyrology, 4 -* 
Baronius,** Herebert Ros\veyde, Legends of the Brabantine Saints/ 6 and 
a great number of other highly respectable authorities, may be cited. 
Various Breviaries and offices might be added. 4 ? Nor even do Scotch 
authors of respectability* 3 deny this origin for the Scotian virgin, in ages now 
past ; while none of them at present claim Scotland to have been the country 
of her birth, although she is there greatly venerated. 

It may easily be supposed, however, that John Majorca and Hector 



S. Brigida;, Virginis," iS:c. 

3 ? In "Vita S. Malachia;," he speaks of 
Fochart, as being the birth-place of St. 
Brigid, while alluding to St. Malachy s acts 
anil travels in Ireland, cap. xxiv. 

3 8 Florence of Worcester records, " S.- 
Brigida Scota Virgo in Hibernia obiit," 
A.D. 521. 

3y john Capgravc, in his " Legcnda Sanc 
torum Anglin. ," says, " \"ir quidam in Ili- 
bernia nomine Dubthacus, geiierc Lage- 
niensis," cVc. 

4u " Vitic Sanctorum," at the 1st of Feb 
ruary. 

41 "Vita: sivc Res Gest;c Sanctorum," at 
the 1st of February. 

42 At the 1st of February. 

45 The English Martyrology, at the 1st of 
February, says, "In Hibernia depositio 
S. Brigida. 1 , virginis, qua; in Comitatu Kill- 
dariensi in loco Fochart appellato nata est." 

1)4 At this same year, 521 Baronius says, 
" Hoc insiiper anno S. Brigida, Scota Virgo 
in Hibernia diem clausit extremum. Hoc 
in Chronico gentilis ipsius Marianus Scotus, 
cui potius assentiendum putamus, quam, iis 
qui ante bicnnium defunctam ponunt." 
" Annales Ecclesiastici," tomus vii. 

4 5 In his " Chronicle," at the year 521 : 
" Eodem anno S. Virgo Brigida, ctijus pn.i> 
clara vita hodie extat, in Hibernia obiit." 

46 In the "Lcgenda Sanctorum Brabantiu;" 
we read: "S. Brigida venerabilis Virgo 
Hibernia fuit instar suaveolentis rosa;, quie 
super spinas floret." 

47 That St. Brigid was an Irishwoman and 
a Lagenian, both by birth and descent, will 
be found in her office in the " Breviarium 
Gienensum," when we read : " Natale Bri 
gida; Virginis qua; a Christianis nobilibus- 
que parentibus orta, patre Dubthaco et 
matre Broca, a pueritia bonarum artium 
studiis inolevit, adeo ut de omnibus pro- 
vinciis Hibernia; innumerabiles populi con- 
fluentes ad ejus monasterium," <kc. (cap. 2). 
Again, in her office, printed at Paris, A. u. 
1620, Resp. i, "Felicem Hiberniam beata 
Lageniadeclarat,Brigidajgignansprosapiam, 
de qua lastitiatn sumat ecclesia ;" and in the 
hymn, " llxc est Laurus Hibernian, cujus 
viror non marcuit," &c. 

48 James Gordon, himself a Scotchman, 
in his " Chronicle," at the year 521 : " S. 
Brigida Scota moritur ia Hibernia." John 



Bisciol in his " F.pitome Annalium," A.D. 
521, writes, " S. Brigida Scota \"irgo in 
Hibernia diem clausit extremum." See 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix 
Uuarta ad Acta S. Brigida , cap. iv. , pp. 
615, 6 1 6. 

4/ It is strange that Major otherwise so 
learned could have fallen into so many 
chronological and historic mistakes, as, 
when citing Mede for authority, he states, 
that St. Columba came into Britain, while 
Brudeus, a powerful king, reigned over the 
1 icts ; that (laniard, the son of Dompnach, 
succeeded to Brudeus, and built a collegiate 
church at Abernethy. Afterwards, it is 
added, the blessed Patrick brought St. 
Brigid into that place ; when (iarnard pre 
sented certain possessions to the holy Brigid 
and to nine virgins, who accompanied her. 
The.-.e possessions the Propositus and canons 
held in his time. See "Historia Majoris 
Britannia;," iVc., lib. ii., cap. xiv., p. 85. 
Bede testifies, indeed, that St. Columba 
came from Ireland to Albania in the year 
565, while Brudeus or Bridius, son of Meilo- 
chon, ruled over the Picts. See " Historia 
Fcclesiastica (ientis Anglorum," lib. iii., 
cap. iv., p\i. 168, 169. (iarnard succeeded 
in the government. Now, according to 
Marianus Scotus and Sigebert, in their 
Chronicles, St. Patrick died A.I). 491, or 
according to other admitted accounts, in 
493. Thus, he flourished many years be 
fore St. Columba and Brudeus were born, 
or before (iarnard reigned. Wherefore, St. 
Patrick could not have introduced St. Brigid 
into Abernethy, during the time when lived 
any of those already named. In fine, how 
could St. Brigid be installed at Abernethy, 
about the time of Garnard, king over the 
Picts, if she died A.D. 521, or according to 
other accounts, in 523 ? or how could that 
king offer possessions to her, and to the 
nine virgins, accompanying her? If it be 
objected, Major meant that King Garnard, 
bestowed those possessions, not during St. 
Brigid s life-time but to express his great 
veneration for her, when she had departed 
from this world ; why, it may be asked, does 
he observe, that the aforesaid church had been 
built by Garnard, that St. Brigid had been 
inducted there, and that certain endowments 
were made, unless St. Brigid and her virgins 
were living ? We may remark, there ib not 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Boetius,s w ho advance these statements, did not voluntarily fall into error : 
they had even some apparent foundation whereon their opinions might have 
been based. The source of their mistake seems to have arisen from the in 
determinate name of Erigicl. Giraldus Cambrensis, too,_has strangely con 
fused her period. 51 Many other holy women bear a similar name and be 
long to our country, as mentioned in native martyrologies. Nay more, in 
Scotland, the name of Brigid was highly extolled, and several females were 
named after her. Among others, there was a certain saint so called, who 
had been buried at Abernethy 52 in Britannic Scotia.53 Abernethy as a see 
was at one time superior to St. Andrew s. 54 It was even primatial,ss but it 
was transferred to the latter place, in 850.56 That Brigid, however, was quite 
a different person from the Patroness of Ireland." As this latter, had been 
much more celebrated and exalted in popular estimation, she was probably 
considered to have been the person alluded to, by those writers mentioned ; 
they not having known about any other Brigid, nor having weighed atten 
tively those arguments, which might favour a contrary conclusion. 53 It is 



a shadow much less a probability of 
truth, in the supposition, that St. Brigid, a 
Scot, and by profession a Christian, left her 
country and Christian friends, with a band 
of virgins, or betook herself to a Pagan and 
hostile nation, as alsobeforeits kingand chiefs 
had been converted, establishing herself 
there in a royal city, where she dwelt to the 
time of her death. The Northern Picts, 
with their king, had been pagans, for more 
than forty years after St. Brigid s death, 
and until St. Columba came, from Ireland in 
565, when he afterwards converted them to 
the faith. These facts are sufficiently clear, 
from the testimony of Venerable Becle. 
See " Ilistoria Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglo- 
rum," lib. iii., cap. iv., pp. 168, 169, and 
lib. v., cap. x., pp. 400 to 403. 

5 See " Scotorum Historic, aprima Gcn- 
tis Origine," &c., lib. ix., fol. clxiiii. 

5 1 Thus he states, that St. Patrick, St. 
Brigid, and St. Columkille were cotem- 
poraries. See " Topographia Hibernica," 
Dist. iii., cap. xviii., in Giraldi Cambrensis 
"Opera." Edited by James F. Dimock, 
M.A., p. 163. Father Stephen White de 
votes nearly a chapter to an elaborate refu 
tation of this misstatement, and to other 
errors in relation to them. See "Apologia 
pro Ilibernia," cap. xii. , pp. 123 to 131. 
Rev. Dr. Kelly s edition. 

52 See an interesting account of this place 
in Fullarton s " Imperial Gazetteer of Scot 
land," vol. i. , pp. 22 to 24. 

53 In Colgan s opinion, the St. Brigid, in 
terred at Abernethy, should rather be con 
sidered a holy virgin, who was a disciple of 
St. Columba, Bishop of Dunkeld, in Scot 
land. She is mentioned in Capgrave s 
" Acta S. Cuthberti," and in Ussher s 
" Primordia Ecclesiarum Britannicarum, " 
cap. xvi., p. 705? where we read, " S. Co 
lumba primus Episcopus in Dunkeld Cuth- 
bertum puerum suscepit ; unaque cum 
puella quadam. nomine Brigida ex Ilibernia 



oriunda retinuit, ct aliquamdiu cducavit." 
It is supposed, if the circumstances of time 
do not warrant such an opinion, those of 
place are favourable to it, for this St. Brigid 
had been educated in Britannic Scotia. 

54 See Rev. Mackenzie E. C. Walcott s 
" Scoti-Monasticon : The Ancient Church 
of Scotland," p. 2. 

55 Ibid., p. 72. This work contains some 
beautiful illustrations of Scottish churches. 

& Ibid,, p. 84. 

S? It is said, St. Cuthbert flourished in 
Britain, about A.I). 660, and at this period, 
Garnard lived according to Buchannan s 
"Rerum Scoticarum Historia," lib. v., p. 
148. He died A. I). 640, the fifty-third king 
of the Picts. See Rev. Thomas Innes 
"Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scot 
land." Chronological Memoirs, p. 225. 

s 8 In his time, John Major remarks, that 
St. Brigid was venerated at Abernethy. 
See " Historice Majoris Britannia," lib. ii., 
cap. xiv., p. 85. But, if this be not the 
identical Brigid there venerated, she might 
have been a St. Brigid, daughter to Neman, 
son of Aid, son to Loarn, son to Ere, son to 
Eochad, surnamed Muinreamhuir, Prince of 
Dalaradia. She is thought to have been 
venerated in Magoluinge, on the 9 h f 
March. It is certain, this Brigid, with her 
three sisters Corba, Lassara, and Lemania, 
had descended from the line of Dalriadan 
princes, who were formerly most powerful 
chiefs both in Scotia Major, or Ireland, and 
in Scotia Minor, or Scotland. From this 
line, the kings of Albanian Scotia issued. 
In the same Albanian Scotia we find a loca 
lity, termed Magluinge. This appears, where 
the plain of Lunge is said to have been "in 
terra Ethica," according to Adamnan s 
"Vita S. Columbce," lib. ii., cap. 15. The 
country, called "terra Ethica," seems to 
have derived its denomination from Ethech 
or Echodius, prince of Dalaradia, or as he 
is called by the British Scots Ethod. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 39 



not difficult, moreover, to discover the origin of that error, into which Hector 
Boetius, 5 ? and other writers after him, had been betrayed, when they state, 
that St. Brigid of Kildare was veiled in the Isle of Man, and by Bishop 
Machille. In some of St. Brigid s Acts, we read, that she had received the 
veil from a Bishop Machille, or more correctly, from a Bishop Maccalleus. 60 
In certain Acts of the Irish Apostle, 61 it is stated, that Maccaldus, or more 
properly Macculleus, a disciple to our illustrious Irish Apostle, had been 
consecrated a bishop and placed over the Isle of Man. 62 Hence, it had been 
incorrectly supposed St. Brigid received the veil in that island, while it is 
evident from her Acts by Cogitosus, that she had been invested with it, not 
in Mannia,-5 but in Media. -* and that it had been given to her, not by 
Macculleus, Bishop of Man, but by another Maccalleus, quite a different 
person from the first-named prelate. 65 

It will surprise the curious investigator of our glorious saint s biography, 
to learn on what grounds Scoto-British writers state her birth to have taken 
place in Laudonia, that she was veiled by Bishop Machille in Mona Island, 66 
that she died and was buried at Abernethy/? in the Tiffa district of North 
Britain ; especially, when we take into account, that among many writers of 
St. Brigid s Acts, no one of them has even stated, she was born out of Ireland, 
or has mentioned any other place or country in Britain having connection 
with her Life and labours. We can hardly take into account Dempster s 
ridiculous explanation, that Laclenia/ 8 a province of Britain, should be sub 
stituted for Lagcnia. In previous passages, it will be seen, that the most 
authentic accounts make St. Brigid, not only a native of Ireland, but they 
even assert she was conceived in Leinster, was born in Ulster, and had been 
educated in Connaught ; they likewise state, that she assumed the veil in 
Mcath, while her labours extended to Minister, as well as to those other 
provinces already mentioned. In fine, it is stated, she died at Kildare in 
Lcinster, and afterwards she was honourably interred at Down in Ulster, 
having been deposited in the same tomb with St. Patrick and Columkille. 
Moreover, her paternal and maternal genealogy, derived through such a long 
line of ancestors, so many saints related to her, so many other holy Irish 
virgins bearing her name, and so many journeys taken by her, through Irish 



59 See " Scotorum Ilisloria 1 ," &c., lib. 6s See "Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. 

i.x., ful. clxiiii. Brigida. 1 ," cap. iv., pp. 614 to 617, ibid. 

" Sec Colon s "Trias Thaumaturga. " 0lJ A line old Map of Mona, with Coats of 

Ilymnus sou Trima Vila S. Brigid;c, sec. S, Arms, coloured, was published in folio size 

p. 515. Secunda Vita S. Brigidix. , cap. iii., about A.D. 1020. In 1835, was issued at 

p. 519. Quinta Vita S. Brigida. , cap. xxix., Douglas, in 8vo shape, Arch. Crcgecn s 

p. 574. "Dictionary of the Manks Language, intcr- 

61 l!y Jocelyn. spersed with many Gaelic Proverbs." 

6 - See " Sexta Vita S. Fatr.cii," cap. clii., b? There is an interesting account of Aber- 

p. 98. Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." nethy (Apurnethige) in Rev. Mackenzie E. 

63 The Island of Man. See " Chronicon S. Walcott s " Ancient Church of Scotland," 
Manniiu, or a Chronicle of the Kings of pp. 3 6, 3 1 ?- 

Man," supposed to have been written by the 68 Colgan says, he could not find any pro- 
Monks of the Abbey of Russin, for an in- vince, territory or spot, called Laudenia or 
tcresting account of the civil and ccclesias- Landian. If perchance, Dempster wished 
tical history of the island. This I2mo book, to understand Laudonia, most certainly in 
published in 1784, contains the Norwegian St. Brigid s time, it did not belong to the 
narrative of Olave, the Black King of Man, Picts or Scots, but to the more southern 
with other curious particulars. Britons. In the century of Venerable Bede, 

64 Or the territory of Meath. See Colgan s it appertained to the Northumbrians and 
"Trias Thaumaturga." Secunda Vita S. English. This is proved by Ussher, in his 
Brigida}, cap. iii., p. 519, and n. II, p. 525, " 1 rimordia Ecclesiarum Britannicarum," 
ibid. pp. 663, 667. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



towns, plains and territories, from her birth to the time of her death, prove 
conclusively, that St. Bngid should be specially classed among our national 
saints. It is not a little surprising to say the least of it to find Dempster 6 ? 
has not only infelicitously, but even incautiously, jumbled irrelevant circum 
stances, with his assertions. 7 It is incredible to suppose, that so many reliable 
authors, as those already cited, could egregiously and perseveringly have 
corrupted the names of Lagenia and Laudenia, in the manner it has pleased 
Dempster alone to imagine, and that without any grounds.? 1 To assume 
that he meant Laudonia,? 2 if we allow, that before Bede s time, it belonged 
to Albania, it certainly was never under the Scottish dominion, but solely 
under that of the Picts, from whom Pictland is called. If therefore, St. 
Brigid had been born in Laudonia," it must be conceded, she was not a 
Scot, but a Briton, or at least a Pict, by family and birth. 

To resume what we consider the more legendary accounts of our saint s 
early infancy, it is said, that the Magus, the mother of St. Brigid, her nurse 
and others, who were sitting in a certain place without the house, saw a cloth 
take fire suddenly^ and it" touched the head of this holy child, who was 
beside them. But, when their hands were immediately stretched forth to ex 
tinguish the flame, it disappeared at once, and the cloth was even found to 
have escaped the ravages of this fire. Such a portent was supposed to have 
been an indication, that the grace of the Holy Spirit inflamed God s servant^ 
On another occasion, while this same Magus was sleeping, he had a vision 
of two angels,? 6 clothed in white, pouring oil on the girl s head, and seeming 
to perform a baptismal rite in the usual manner. " From such account, 
some persons have inferred our saint had been baptized by an angel. How 
ever, this should be a false conjecture, as the Magus is merely said to have 
seen this apparition during his sleep, and it only indicated the future per 
formance of the rite, as also the name Brigid was destined to bear.? 8 

One of those angels said to the Magus : " Call this virgin Brigid, for 



6 This writer remarks, St. Brigid has been 
called a Lagenian, whereas, she ought to be 
considered a Ladenian ; her father, it is pre 
tended, having been from Ladenia, deno 
minated Landian, in Dempster s time. " Ex 
Ladenia mine Landian," &c. See " Ilis- 
toria Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum," lib. 
ii., num. 144. 

7 These manifestly false statements ob 
viously destroy all faith in accounts, the in 
accuracy of which could not otherwise be so 
easily detected by a cursory reader of his 
works. Wilful negligence and perversion of 
facts are very clearly attributable to this self- 
constituted historian. 

7 1 Yet, after all, if we should institute a 
careful examination of the entire map of 
British Scotland, we shall not be able to 
discover the Ladenia or Landian, imagined 
by Dempster, no more than we could expect 
to find Lagenia there. Having attentively 
read over all the names of Albanian Scotia s 
provinces, territories and other particular 
localities, and their very accurate descrip 
tions, as given by Hector Boetius and George 
Buchannan, Colgan could find no such de 
nomination. 

7 2 A very interesting account of this pro 
vince, Loudian, or Lothian, will be found in 



Chalmers " Caledonia," vol. i., book iii., 
chap, vi., pp. 367 to 373. 

73 As Dempster states. 

74 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
the Saint, this cloth is called the covering 
or cap, which was on the infant s head, pp. 
7, 8. 

75 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Tertia Vita S. Brigidre, cap. vi., pp. 527, 
528. Quarta Vita S. Brigidoe, lib. i.,cap. 
x., p. 547, ibid. 

76 The Irish Life has three angels, clothed 
in white garments, like clerics. Professor 
O Looney s copy, pp. 7, 8. 

77 Colgan remarks, that the ministry of 
angels is often read, as having been em 
ployed in the administration of the sacra 
ments to men. The Fifth Life expressly 
says; "aqua perfundentes totum ordinem 
baptismatis sicut Catholica consuevit eccle- 
sia, super earn peregerunt." Colgan adds 
that a succeeding prophecy seems to have 
its truth confirmed from experience. See 
"Trias Thaumaturga." Quarta Vita S. 
Brigidae, n. 16, p. 564. Quinta Vita S. 
Brigidae, cap. viii., p. 569, and nn. 9, II, 
p. 640. 

78 See Tertia Vita S. Brigidoe, n. 7, p. 
543. Quarta Vita S. Brigidce, n. 15, p. 564- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 41 



she shall be full of grace before God and man, and her name shall be 
celebrated throughout the entire world. " Pronouncing such words, those 
angels disappeared. On a certain occasion, being awake, and studying the 
course of the heavenly bodies, according to a usual custom 7 * during the 
whole night, that same Magus saw a column of fire ascending from the 
house, in which Brigid and her mother slept. He called another man to 
witness such phenomenon. In the morning, an account of this prodigy was 
given to many other persons. 80 We are told, that the child s stomach 
rejected the food of the Magus, and on endeavouring to discover a cause for 
such nausea, the magician was urged to cry out : " I am unclean, but this 
girl is filled with graces of the Holy Spirit, and that is the reason why she 
will not retain any sustenance which I supply to her." Whereupon, lie 
procured a white cow, 8 which was intended to give milk, while a certain 
religious and Christian woman was provided to take charge of the infant. 
That woman milked the cow, and the milk, afterwards given to the child, 
was found to agree with her. Yet, while the infant suffered from weakness, 
her personal beauty even improved. 32 As the maid grew up, she served in 
menial offices about the house. 8 - 5 Whatever she touched or saw, in the 
shape of food, seemed to increase in a miraculous manner. It is remarked, 
that the Magus and his family were Pagans at the time of these occurrences. 
Afterwards, however, he became a Christian. A little before this latter 
event, the faith of Christ is said to have come into Ireland. 84 On a certain 
day, the infant s voice was heard praying to God, while extending her little 
hands towards heaven. A certain man saluted her, and to him she replied, 
"This will be mine; this will be mine." Hearing such words, he said ; 
" This is truly a prophecy, for the infant says this place shall belong to her 
forever." And her prediction was exactly fulfilled. 85 In course of time, a 



75 The Fourth Life has it, " suoquc more nion, being obliged to take a little water 

astra c<eli considerans," &c. It may be immediately afterwards, in order to facilitate 

asked, if this passage throws any light on such an effort. On each Thursday, also, 

the supposed astronomical pursuit of the she rather tasted than drank a little water. 

Uruids ? And during such a long lapse of time, she 

80 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," neither eat or drank anything, besides what 
Tertia Vita S. Brigidae, cap. vii., viiu, p. has been already mentioned. Nor had she 
528. Quarta Vita S. Brigidse, lib. i., cap. even an appetite for eating or drinking, 
xi., p. 547, ibid. As usual, the foregoing Although she was reduced to a great degree 
circumstances are greatly amplified in the of bodily prostration, and could not walk : 
Fifth Life of our Saint, where it is added, yet, her mental powers were unimpaired, 
that the Magus and his wife took care to she had the faculty of speech, and retained 
provide a nurse for the infant. This nurse a great appearance of personal comeliness, 
assisted the mother in attending to its wants. This wonderful example of abstinence, it is 
It is also said, the heads of the family were said, could be vouched for, by more wit- 
very indulgent to the mother, even although nesses than even the inhabitants of that 
they held her as a slave. Quinta Vita S. village, in which the maiden lived. Hence, 
Brigidie, cap. viii., p. 569, ibid. a less remarkable instance, in St. Brigid s 

Bl Professor O Looney s Irish Life ha* a cr.se, cannot be reasonably doubted. The 

"white red-eared cow," pp. 9, 10. writer then adds, that what the Almighty 

82 The writer of St. Brigid s Fifth Life had effected for the virgin then living was 

remarks, that this account should not excite only known to the great Author and for an 

the incredulity even if it might the admi- undefinable reason. See Vita Quinta S. Bri- 

ration of his readers ; for, in his own day, gidic, cap. x., xi., pp. 569, 570, ibid. 

it was possible to see a certain virgin, that * 3 Professor O Looney s Irish Life states, 

dwelt in the south of England, and that she that she used to train the sheep, supply the 

lived for twenty years in her father s house, birds, and feed the poor, pp. 9, 10. 

without taking any kind of food, except the 8 - See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," 

Body of our Lord, which she received on Vita Tertia S. Brigidoe, cap. x., p. 528. 

all Sundays of the year. And as the passage Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. i., cap. vii., p. 

through the throat was of narrow compass, 547, ibid. 

she could scarcely swallow Holy Commu- 8 s In "The Life of St. Brigid, the Mary 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



hr-e parish was formed in that part of the country, and it was dedicated to 
St & Brimd S6 Learning those foregoing words, some local inhabitants went 
to the Magus and said to him : " Do you remain with us, but let the girl, 
who has prophesied that our lands will belong to her, retire." The Magus 
replied : " I shall not leave my female slave and her daughter, but I will 
rather quit your country." Then the Magus, with his family, is said to have 
directed his course towards Munster, his native province. 8 ? There, also, he 
inherited a paternal estate. 88 

In St Braid s Third Life, we afterwards read of a desire entering the 
daughter s mind to return in all probability to her father s home. On 
learning this wish, the Magus sent messengers to Dubtach, who was informed, 
that his daughter could be received free. The father of our Saint was greatly 
rejoiced. On the reception of this message, he went to the magician s 
house whence he returned, 8 9 accompanied by his daughter. The Christian 
nurse also followed her youthful charged This attendant was seized with 
some complaint. Our Saint, accompanied by another girl, was sent to the 
house of a certain man,? 1 that they might procure a draught of beer for the 
patient. In this expectation, it appears, the messengers were disappointed ; 
but on their return homewards, St. Brigid turned out of her course towards 
a particular well.? 2 Here she filled the vessel borne with water, and instantly 



uf Erin, and the special Patroness of the 
Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin," by an 
Irish Priest, the late Rev. Mr. O Donnell of 
Maynooth College, the expressions of the 
holy infant are referred, not to an earthly, 
but to a heavenly, inheritance. See chap. 
i., p. 9. Dublin, 1859, iSmo. 

80 Colgan maintains, that from the manner 
in which this account is conveyed in her 
Third Life, by the word "parrochia," the 
author means a district of ecclesiastical land, 
dedicated to St. Brigid, according to an old 
custom. In Colgan s time, there was a parish 
church consecrated to St. Brigid, in the 
diocese of Elphin, within the district of 
Soil-mured-haigh, and in the province of 
Connaught. Formerly a monastery was 
there endowed with ample possessions. 
The author, in Colgan s opinion, must have 
flourished at a distant date ; for, he says, 
that district was large, that a considerable 
tract of land was attached, and that it 
was St. Brigid s patrimony. For many 
ages before Colgan s time, the tract there 
was of no large extent, nor did it belong to 
St. Brigid s order. See "Trias Thauma- 
turga," Vila Tertia S. Brigida. , n. 8, p. 
543, ibid. However, it may still be ques 
tioned, if Colgan rightly indentified the 
locality, to which allusion has been made . 

87 These circumstances are also briefly 
related in Professor O Looney s Irish Life, 
PP. 7, 8. 

88 These circumstances are related in the 
Third and Fourth Lives of our Saint. See 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," Vita Tertia 
S. Brigidse, cap. ix., p. 528. Vita Quarta 
S. Brigidai, cap. xii., p. 579. In the latter 
record, we find these following additional 
particulars related: "Cum jam crevisset 
quidem corpore, sed plus fide spe et charitate, 



sancta puclla fideliter ministrabat." Then 
twenty-one or twenty-two chapters of the 
latter life are said to be missing. In a note 
we find remarked, that these seem to have 
been omitted, owing to the fault of a scribe. 
But their tenor may be gleaned from the 
ninth to the thirty-second chapter of the 
preceding life. See ibid, n. 17, p. 5^4- 

8 ? It is stated to be in Ui Failge, or Offaly, 
in Professor O Looney s Irish Life, pp. 9, IO. 

9 Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 
Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. xi., p. 528. In the 
Fifth Life of our Saint, the same circum 
stances apparently are somewhat differently 
related. After describing the virtues, which 
characterized the holy maiden, when absent 
from her paternal roof, the writer then pro 
ceeds to relate how her father impulsively 
thanked God for having sent him such a 
daughter. While leaving her mother still a 
captive, Brigid and her nurse were brought 
to his house. There his daughter was re 
ceived with the most affectionate care. See 
Quinta Vita S. Brigidse, cap. xiii., p. 570, 
ibid. See also " The Life of St. Brigid," 
by an Irish Priest, chap, ii., pp. 14, 15. 

9 1 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life, he 
is named Baethchu, pp. 9, 10. 

9 2 The account runs, that she was enabled 
to express these words, as versified in the 
Sixth Life : 

Quferite cervisiam : mihi medo magna 
voluptas." 

Then follow these lines : 

" Brigida (tune fuerat juvenis et pulchra 

puella) 

Mittitur ad vicos quoorendo quippe liquo 
rem. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 43 



it became changed into an excellent description of beer.^3 When the nurse 
tasted it, she recovered from her infirmity.?* This miracle is also alluded to 
in one of St. Brigid s offices. 

Most of those foregoing accounts are altogether omitted, from narratives 
which are considered to have been the earliest and most authentic biogra 
phies of our Saint ; and there is every reason to suppose them altogether 
legendary, and undeserving attention. Nor can we find any valid reason to 
question a supposition already adduced, 53 that our Saint s parents, besides 
being of noble family, were also Christians, and that St. Brigid herself was 
born in lawful wedlock. All her biographers seem agreed, however, that 
from her earliest youth, this illustrious maiden was remarkable for every 
noble and virtuous characteristic, foreshadowing the future Saint. To her 
Christian nurse is attributed much of that holy training, which during child 
hood made her a devout client of Jesus and Mary.9 6 When this holy virgin 
grew to the years of discretion, and even from her most tender youth, she 
was distinguished for her extraordinary virtues ; - ? especially, for that grave 
decorum and modesty, which bestowed dignity and propriety on her every 
word and action. Kach day she acquired some new virtue, or increased in 
spiritual progress. She was early grounded in doctrines of the Christian s 
Faith ; and she must have received, also, some secular education, corre 
sponding with the rank of her parents. From earliest years she was distin 
guished for instances of extraordinary charity, especially towards the poor. 
An anecdote of her childhood is related. - 3 The youthful virgin was bounti 
ful and hospitable to such a degree, that she frequently distributed to the 
poor and to strangers large quantities of milk and butter, which her mother 
had committed to her charge. In consequence of this generous propensity, 
she found on a certain occasion, that her store was completely exhausted. 
Being accustomed each day to superintend the labours of her maids and of 
her daughter, in various departments ot" their industry, our Saint s mother 
was about to make her usual inquiries, when fearing reproof for the improvi- 



Virgo Dei properans una comitantc account, and all that follows in this biogra- 

sororc. 1 hy, so ^ ar as l ne 35 tn chapter, are wanting 

Quiclam cervisiam, quamvi.s velabat, ha- in the Fourth Life. See ibid, n. 8, p. 543- 

bebat : The circumstances of this miracle are related, 

Virginibus sacris stultus donate ncgabat." with certain modifications, in the Fifth and 

Sixth Lives. In the former, it is said, 

Further on this line occurs : during her infirmity, the nurse suffered 

greatly from thirst, and that St. Brigid 

" Qui latices gelidos Lyci convertit in un- signed the water drawn from the well, with 

das :" a sign of the cross, while those, who were 

present and witnessed the miraculous effect 

to which Colgan appends this note, that in the produced, admired and extolled our Saint s 

MS. for lyei, or more correctly, /nr/, was to faith and miraculous powers. It is here 

be found c<cli<r. But because the author said, likewise, that two girls accompanied 

seems to allude to the change by Christ of the Saint, when she proceeded on her er- 

water into wine at Cana in Galilee, ly<-i rand. In the Sixth Life, it is stated, that 

appears to be the correct reading. See Trias the nurse had been seized with a burning 

Thaumaturga," Vita Quinta S. Brigid.T, fever, so that she could scarcely articulate 

cap. xvi., p. 571 ; and Sexta Vita S. P>ri- owing to thirst. 

L,ida3, sec. iii., p. 583, and n. 8, p. 598, ibid. 95 Especially by Dr. Lanigan. 

w The kind of beer alluded to was mead, 9& See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

as expressed in the metrical life. It appears Irish Priest, chap, i., pp. 10 to 13. 

to have been a favourite drink among the 97 See the various published Offices and 

ancient Irish ; and, most likely, it was little accounts of our Saint, by different writers. 

if at all impregnated with intoxicating 98 By Cogitosus. In Professor O Looney s 

properties. Irish Life of St. Brigid, this account is am- 

94 Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita plified, and St. Brigid s prayer is rendered 

Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. xii., p. 528. Such into three Irish stanzas, pp. II to 14. 



44 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



dence admitted into household concerns, Brigid betook herself to prayer. 
The Almighty graciously heard her petitions, and miraculously increased the 
exhausted store of butter. 99 When this remarkable circumstance became 
known to the handmaids, these admired the girl s wonderful trust in Divine 
Providence, and then gave praise to God, who rewarded her Faith, Hope 
and Charity, by the performance of this miracle in her behalf. 100 

At another time, it is related, while engaged in providing food for some 
noble guests, 101 she was so much moved with the whining and eager gestures 
of a dog, that she gave him a great portion of the bacon she had been cook 
ing, and, afterwards, she found more than a sufficiency remaining, for the 
entertainment of the strangers. 102 These anecdotes serve to impress us most 
agreeably, with the natural kindliness and generosity of her youthful 
disposition. 

It appears quite probable, that in her youth, the pious maiden must have 
been known, to the great Irish Apostle Patrick. For, it is related, in the 
Tripartite Life of this latter Saint, that on a certain occasion, when preaching 



99 This account is also given in various 
Offices and other narratives, regarding our 
Saint. See likewise "The Life of St. 
Brigid," by an Irish Priest, chap, ii., pp. 
17, 1 8. 

100 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Secunda Vita S. Brigidos, cap. ii., p. 5!9- 
Capgrave relates this miracle, as occurring 
at the house of the Magus. " Legenda 
Sanctorum Anglite, Scotia; et HiberniDe," 
Vita S. Brigidce, sec. 2. In the Third Life 
of St. Brigid, the account given regarding 
this miracle is substantially as follows. 
After stating some circumstances, that took 
place after our Saint had been sent back to 
her father, we are told, that she again re 
turned to visit her mother, who remained 
with her master, the Magus ; although she 
lived in a separate house, from that in which 
he dwelt. The Saint s mother had the 
charge of twelve cows ; the butter produced 
from which, she was obliged to collect. 
But, when St. Brigid arrived on this visit to 
her mother, the virgin was accustomed to 
distribute butter each day to the poor and 
to the guests ; in doing which, she divided 
it into twelve parts, in honour of the twelve 
Apostles. She made one portion greater 
than the remaining parts, in honour of our 
Saviour, while remarking, she saw the per 
son of Christ in that of every guest. One 
day, the Magus and his wife brought a large 
measure to her, that it might be filled with 
butter. On seeing this vessel, the ready 
flush of her cheeks betrayed a certain dis 
turbance of her mind ; for she had only the 
butter of one day and a half day then col 
lected. Visitors having entered the house, 
the virgin joyously began to exercise claims 
of hospitality towards them, and to prepare 
for their refection. She then retired to a 
private part of this house, where she poured 
forth her prayers to God. Afterwards, she 
produced the small quantity of butter then 
in her possession. But, the wife of the 



Magus, on seeing it, contemptuously taunted 
her on its smallness. The Saint replied, 
however, that there should be sufficient to 
fill a large vessel. Through the interposi 
tion of Divine Providence, her prediction 
was fulfilled. When the Magus witnessed 
this miracle, he told St. Brigid, that the 
vessel thus miraculously filled should belong 
to her, and likewise those twelve cows given 
in charge to her mother. Still the Saint 
declined receiving such gifts, asking instead 
of them her mother s freedom. The Magus 
then said ; " Lo, I offer you your mother s 
liberty, as well as the gifts of this butter 
and those cows." We are told, that the 
Magus then believed and was baptized, and 
that St. Brigid, bestowing her gifts on the 
poor, returned with her mother towards her 
father s home. See Colgan s "Trias Thau 
maturga," Vita Tertia S. Brigidze, cap. xv., 
p. 528. Similar circumstances, for the most 
part, are mentioned in the Fifth Life of our 
Saint, with the usual amplifications. It is 
there reported, likewise, that she paid a 
visit to her mother, already alluded to, in 
company with her nurse and a brother. 
See " Quinta Vita S. Brigidce," cap. xviii., 
xix., xx., xxi., pp. 571, 572, ibid. 

101 These circumstances are alluded to in 
the First, Second and Third Lives of the 
saint. See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Prima S. Brigidaj, sec. 14, p. 516. 
Vita Secunda S. Brigidce, cap. iv., p. 519. 
Vita Tertia S. Brigida:, cap. xiii., p. 528. 
In the Fifth Life nearly the same account is 
given, with the addition of some immaterial 
particulars. See Vita Quinta S. Brigidte, 
cap. xvii., p. 571, ibid. All accounts agree, 
that these occurrences took place at her 
father s house. 

102 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, it is said the guests, who wit 
nessed this miracle, would not eat the food 
thus increased, but it was distributed to the 
poor and destitute, pp. 9 to 12. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 45 



to a vast multitude of persons, Bridget formed one of the number. Then she 
is said to have been illustrious for her gifts of prophecy and miracles. The 
place, where St. Patrick is said to have preached on this occasion, we find 
called, the territory of Lemania. It was a rural district of Tyrone, in the 
diocese of Clogher, and commonly called Magh-lemna, otherwise Clossach. 
It is said, that St. Patrick stood on a hill, called Finn-abhuir. We are told, 
likewise, that the Irish Apostle preached here with great fervour for a dura 
tion of three days and three nights, while the people were so enraptured 
with his discourse, they did not think a single day had elapsed, pending this 
long interval. 10 ^ While listening to him, she was transported into such an 
ecstacy, that the people thought she had fallen asleep. During this time, 
Engid had a vision, regarding that present, and a future state of the Irish 
Church. Then on awaking, St. Patrick desired her to relate what she had 
seen. She told him, at first, that she had seen a herd of white oxen amid 
white crops ; then, she beheld spotted animals of different colours ; and 
after these appeared black and darkly-coloured cattle. Afterwards sheep 
and swine were seen ; lastly dogs and wolves worrying each other. I0 * Yet 
while Brigid seemed to sleep, St. Patrick would not allow the congregation 
to awaken her, until she came to a state of consciousness of her own accord. 
The Irish Apostle afterwards told the people, that her vision referred to that 
present and to a future state of the Church in Ireland. 10 ^ 

In his Fourth 106 and Sixth 10 ? Lives, it is related, that St. Brigid wove a 
shroud to cover the remains of St. Patrick, after his death. Dr. Lanigan 
calculates, that the Irish Apostle did not live nearly so late as A.D. 493, Io3 
when St. Brigid s reputation was spread far and wide. 10 At the time of his 
decease, the holy virgin is thought to have been a mere child. Besides the 
earlier writers of St. Patrick s Acts have no mention of St. Brigid having 
woven the shroud. With special minuteness, Fiach s hymn, the Scholiast, 
Probus, the Tripartite, and the third Life give an account of the last days of 
St. Patrick, his death and obsequies. They specify the name of that bishop 
who attended him, although otherwise he was scarcely known. Strange, 
indeed, would be their omitting to mention so celebrated a saint as Brigid 
had she attended with the shroud at his exit. If those circumstances, 
reported by later writers concerning her transactions with St. Patrick, had 
really occurred, it is impossible they could have been overlooked by those 
authors, who lived nearer to their occurrence. Perhaps Brigid wove a pall or 
some sepulchral ornament to be spread over his grave, and hence might have 
arisen the idea, that she had done so during his lifetime. 110 Such a circum 
stance might easily give origin to the rumour of her having assisted at St. 
Patrick s obsequies. People about Dundalk, however, have a tradition, that 



103 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," chap, iii., p. 31. 

Jocelyn s or Sexta Vita S. 1 atricii, cap. "^ In her exertions for forming congrega- 

xciv., xcv.^pp. 86, 87. tions of holy virgins and establishments for 

I0 < See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," them which coincided so well with the 

Septima Vita S. Patricii, lib. iii., cap. iv., views of our Apostle she would and should 

pp.^149, 150, and n. u, p. 184. have acted under his guidance, were he 

T "tv* " TheLife of St. frigid," by an alive. Accordingly there must have been 

io6c riest> hap , iii-> ? p " 3I to 33> frequent communications between them, 

3 See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," concerning which the ancient writers could 

Quarta Vita S. Patricii, xciii., p. 47. not have been totally silent. See " Eccle- 

ID 7 See Ibid. Sexta Vita S. Patricii, cap. siastical History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, 

clxxxvm., clxxxix., p. 107. viii., sec. ii., n. 29, pp. 384, 385. 

10 In "The Life of St. Brigid," by an " See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical 

Irish Priest, the author seems inclined to History of Ireland," vol. i., cap viii. sec 

adopt this date for St. Patrick s death. See ii., n. 29, p. 384. 



4 6 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 

St. Brigid lived in the year 432, when St. Patrick first preached in Ireland, 
and that she survived him thirty years. 111 As St. Brigid approached the 
years of puberty, her parents thought of procuring her a partner for life; and 
they wished to espouse her to a husband of their own selection. But, this 
holy virgin had long before resolved, on consecrating herself to the service 
of God, to whom she had already devoted herself, by those chaste disposi 
tions of soul, and by those ardent inspirations of piety, which so much 
distinguished her childhood. To her declarations thus made, it would appear, 
that her parents interposed no serious objections. She was in the bloom of 
maidenhood, when she resolved on entering the religious state. An opinion 
has been advanced, that she was only fourteen years of age, at the time of 
making her vows ; 112 but one better weighed may be more deserving our 
regard, that she was not a consecrated virgin, during the life-time of St. 
Patrick, and that she must at least have attained the sixteenth year of her 
age, to have been canonically eligible for this state. 1 ^ 

Before we arrive at this event in her life, there are other circumstances 
mentioned, regarding the holy virgin, in what are considered to be among 
the most questionable of her recorded acts. It may not be irrelevant, how 
ever, to introduce them. While at her father s house, and before she returned 
to see her captive mother, it is related, that a certain religious widow/^who 
lived in an adjoining village, asked our Saint s father to allow her Brigid s 
companionship to a Synod, 115 then held in the plain of the Liny. 116 To this 
request her father assented ; and while both proceeded on their way, a cer 
tain holy man, 11 ? who was present at the Synod, 118 slept. He had a vision, 
at the same time. On awaking from sleep, he said ; " I have beheld Mary, 
and a certain man standing with her, who said to me, This is holy Mary, 
who dwells amongst you. ""9 When the venerable man had mentioned this in 
the Synod, St. Brigid and her companion arrived. Then the same holy man 
cried out ; " This is the Mary, whom I have seen, for I know with certainty 
her appearance." All, who were present, rendered their acknowledgment 
to St. Brigid, 120 beholding in her a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 121 



111 See " Louth Letters containing Infor- II8 In an Irish Life, it is called a Synod 
mation relative to the Antiquities of the of the Leinster Seniors. 

County, collected during the Progress of the " 9 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

Ordnance Survey in 1835-1836," vol. i., p. Irish Priest, chap, ii., p. 16. 

287. Letter of Messrs. P. O Keefe and T. I2 This is somewhat differently related in 

O Conor, dated Dundalk, February 1 5th, an Irish Life of St. Brigid, cap. xii., as 

1836. quoted by Colgan. See "Trias Thauma- 

112 Such is Ussher s statement, founded on turga." Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Bri- 
the questionable authority of Hector Boece. gidce, cap. xii., p. 622. 

113 This is Dr. Lanigan s conclusion. I=I See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
"The Life of St. Brigid," by an Irish Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. xiv., p. 528. 
Priest, states, that about her sixteenth or In n. 9, p. 543, ibid, with the usual typo- 
seventeenth year was that of her profession, graphical errors of his works, we are referred 
the date being drciter 469. See chap, iii., by Colgan to the sixteenth chapter of St. 
p. 28. Brigid s Irish Life, where the holy man 

114 In an Irish Life of St. Brigid, this alluded to is St. Iber, bishop ; and for the 
woman is called a Virgin. In Professor eulogy pronounced on her, whereby she re- 
O Looney s Irish Life she is simply desig- ceives as a title "the other Mary of the 
nated " a religious woman," pp. n, 12. Irish," we are to examine, not the Third, 

"5 An Irish Life, quoted by Colgan, but the Twelfth chapter, in his Fourth 

states, at cap. xii., that this Synod was held Appendix to our Saint s Acts. There we 

at the spot, afterwards known as Kildare. have a different version of the story, related 

116 Called Magh Liphe in Professor in the text, and regarding the consideration 

O Looney s Irish Life, pp. n, 12. in which our Saint had been held by the 

"7 The Irish Life calls him Ilibar or Ibar. ancient Irish. These called her another 

In Professor O Looney s Irish Life his name Mother of God, or another Mary. 
is written lb<M^\, pp. II, 12. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 47 



Thenceforth, this holy virgin was called the Mary of the Gaedhels." 122 The 
learned Dr. Todd observes, commenting on this title : Here when it is said 
that Brigid was " in the type of Mary," the meaning, perhaps, may be, that 
she resembled in form and figure the person of the Blessed Virgin ; not that 
she was actually the Blessed Virgin, reappearing upon earth, but that, from 
the close resemblance of her features to those of Mary, and from her having 
been seen in the vision as Mary, and called by the Angel as " Holy Mary, 
that dwells amongst you/ she was saluted by the assembled Synod as Mary, 
and was thenceforth regarded as " the Mary of the Irish. " I2 3 Other pane 
gyrists call St. Brigid, the Mother of Christ/ "The Mother of my Lord," &c., 
thus bestowing upon her attributes, belonging especially to the Blessed Virgin 
Mary. 12 * St. Columkille, it is stated, composed a certain Hymn in praise 
of St. Brigid. 125 This was a short metrical Irish composition, which has 
been rendered in a Latin version by Colgan, 126 and there St. Brigid is called 
"The Mother of Christ." 12 ? In the panegyrical poem of St. Brogan Cloen, 128 
which Colgan has printed, the same exalted praise is bestowed upon St. 
Brigid. Dr. Todd takes quotations from the original Irish, as Colgan s 
printed text is full of typographical errors. Omitting the Irish extracts, 
these following passages are submitted : -9 

" Brigit, mother of my Lord, 
Of heaven, a sovereign the best born." 

On these passages, the learned commentator remarks, that Brigid is strangely 
spoken of, not as resembling the Virgin Mary in feature, or even in purity 
and sanctity, but as partaking with her, in some mystical sense, of the prero 
gative of being Mother of Jesus, " Mother of my Lord of heaven. Never 
theless, it is certain, that the idea of a reappearance of Mary, in the person 
of St. Brigid, which should make them one and the same person, was not in 
the minds of those writers, notwithstanding the extravagance of their lan 
guage. 130 Yet, it is clear, that Mary and Brigid are spoken of as two distinct 



123 



According to Professor O Looney s have been the author. The Scholiast also 

Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. n, 12. adds, " or it was Ultan of Ardbreecan who 

133 See the "Liber Hymnorum," Fasciculus made this Hymn." 

I. Edited with notes, by Dr. James Hen- I26 In one of these lines, St. Brigid is 

thorn Todd. Note 15, pp. 65, 66, and nn. alluded to thus 

(f.g.) ibid. There we find a like account, " Hxc Christi mater." 

under the heading, " St. Brigid, the Marv " 7 There is still some undefined belief 

of the Irish." notwithstanding the chronological discre- 

134 In the Third Life the language is : pancy among the Irish people, that St. 
" Hcec est Maria (\vithouttheexplanatory Brigid was a sister of our Blessed Lady. A 
altera) qua; habitat inter vos ;" and these legend prevails, that St. Brigid advanced 
are there given, as the words, not of the before the Mother of our Lord to the tern- 
saint who saw the vision, but of the Angel pie, and by an ostentatious exhibition, or 
seen in the vision, who stood with the Yir- "praisga," of herself, carrying lighted can- 
gin Mary, and said, not of St. Brigi- . Lai dies on her head, she wished to divert at- 
of the B. V. Mary herself, " Ilaec e.v.. Maria tention from the modest Mother-Virgin, 
qure habitat inter vos," thus strangely con- Although the day was stormy, none of the 
founding the person of Mary and Brigid. candles were extinguished. Hence, our 
It will be observed, however, that this ex- Blessed Lady enjoined St. Brigid s feast to 
travagance is avoided in the Office printed be celebrated before that of the Purification, 
in 1622. See " Liber Hymnorum," Note This account was furnished to the writer by 
B, n. (n.), pp. 68, 69. Rev. David B. Mulcahy, C.C., Loughguile, 

1=5 A portion of the original Irish of this Co. Antrim, in a letter, dated April 26th, 

Hymn, with an English translation, is given 1875. 

by Dr. Todd, in the work already quoted : " 8 His composition is also found in the 

and it is taken from the MS. "Liber "Liber Hymnorum," p. 33. 

Hymnorum," p. 32. In the preface, it is I2 As translated by Dr. Todd. 

said, that St. Columkille is supposed to 13 St. Brogan Cloen afterwards says 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



beings, and the notion of reappearance of the former in the person of the 
latter is excluded.^ 1 Our Lord has said, that whosoever shall do the will 
of God, the same is his brother, and sister and mother^ and this perhaps 
may be all that is meant by St. Brigid s pledging herself to be the Mother of 
Christ, and making herself so by words and deeds. According to another 
explanation, she who by continual elevation of mind, and fixed intention, 
keeps her thoughts ever upon Christ, may be said to travail with Christ, and 
figuratively to be the mother of Christ, and so to be, as it _ were, another 
Mary. 33 Colgan has interpreted this prerogative of St. Brigid to be "the 
Mary of the Irish," because of the honour and veneration our people enter 
tained for her over every other Saint the Blessed Virgin only excepted 
and because of her having had some similar kind of religious deference in 
comparison with the Holy Mother of God. 34 

The account of that supposed Synod, at Kildare but m a somewhat 
modified form is retained in an Office of St. Brigid, which has_been printed 
in Paris. I3 5 This Office, containing some minor variations, is_ also to be 
found with full musical notation, in the Antiphonary of Clondalkin, a MS. of 
the fourteenth century.^ 6 It has also been reprinted by Colgan, and has 



" The veiled Virgin who drives over the 

Currech 

Is a shield against sharp weapons ; 
None was found her equal, except Mary, 
Let us put our trust in my strength." 

In the last line there is a play upon the 
name of St. Brigid, and the Irish word 
Biigi, "strength." And again: 

" Every one that hears ; every one that re 
peats [this poem], 
The blessing of Brigid be on him ; 
The blessing of Brigid and of God 
Be upon them that recite it together. 

There are two Virgins in heaven, 

Who will not give me a forgetful protec 
tion, 

Mary and St. Brigid, 
Under the protection of them both may 
we remain." 

3 To passages taken from this Irish 
Hymn of St. Brogan Cloen, Dr. Todd ap 
pends the following notes. The Currech 
i.e., the Curragh of Kildare. The Scholiast 
in a gloss on this word says, " curv[\ecli a 
cursu equorum dictus est ;" a curious proof 
of the antiquity of its use as a race-course : 
to which, perhaps, some allusion may be 
intended in the description of St. Brigid, as 
"the Nun (or veiled Virgin) who drives 
over the Currech." And again : Two Vir 
gins. The word CAillecri, here used, sig 
nifies a veiled or consecrated virgin, a nun, 
derived probably from the Latin cucullus." 
The learned editor of the "Liber Hymno- 
rum " thus continues his remarks: "The 
words of the supposed stanza of the Hymn 
in the text (taking the corrected reading of 
automata for ant amata) are also remark 
able : Christi matron se spopondit ; She 



promised or pledged herself to be Christ s 
mother, and made herself so by words or 
deeds, Brigid, who is esteemed the Queen 
of the true God." The Hymn itself, how 
ever (v. 8), is content with the statement 
that she was a virgin like to Holy Mary, 
" Maria; Sanctos similem." 

132 St. Matt. xii. 50. 

J 33 This seems to be the idea, presented 
to the mind of the author, supposed to have 
been St. Ultan : "Christi matrem se spo 
pondit, dictis atque factis fecit." 

J 34 Dr. Todd here remarks: "This is 
certainly softening the matter as much as 
possible, seeing that the ancient authorities 
place her on an equality with the Blessed 
Virgin, giving to her also the seemingly in 
communicable title of Dei Genetrix, and the 
still more unusual one of Queen of the true 
God. And, moreover, they state expressly 
that she was called the Mary of the Irish, 
and was recognised as such by an assembled 
Synod, in consequence of her personal 
resemblance to the B. Virgin Mary, whilst 
still a child, and therefore before she was 
known to the Irish people, or could have 
received any honour or veneration from 
them." We are then referred by Dr. Todd 
to some learned and curious remarks on this 
subject in Mr. Herbert s Cyclops Christianus, 
p. 113, seq., p. 137, p. 141-2. See the 
" Liber Hymnorum," Note B, pp. 65 to 68, 
and nn. (f,g,h,i,j,k,l,) ibid. Also Colgan s 
"Trias Thaumaturga," Appendix Secunda 
ad Acta S. Brigidas, sec. xxiii., p. 606, and 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. 
xii., p. 622, ibid. 

133 A.D. 1622. Noct. ii., Lect. v., Colgan s 
" Trias Thaumaturga," p. 600. 

136 This latter is preserved in the Library 
of Trinity College, Dublin. It is classed in 
a Catalogue of MSS. there preserved, B, 
1.3. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



49 



been republished by him, in common with various lessons and prayers, 
relating to our Saint, as found in other Breviaries. 1 ^ In the same Office, 
there is a Hymn at Lauds, the two first stanzas of which evidently paraphrase 
the verses commencing with " Christus in nostra insula."^ 3 The Irish Life 
of Brigid 1 ^ relates, that after returning from the Synod, she went to visit her 
mother who was in bondage. 

Some great characteristics of our holy virgin are thus alluded to in an 
ancient biography. "It was her anxious care to comfort the poor, to banish 
all distress, to relieve all wretchedness : there was no one more modest, more 
righteous, more humble, or more chaste ; she never looked in the face of 
man ; she was abstinent, she was spotless, she was prayerful, she was patient, 
she was joyful in the commandments of God. She was a consecrated shrine 
to receive the Body and Blood of Christ : she was the temple of God : her 
heart and her mind were an abiding throne for the Holy Ghost. She was 
bright in miracles ; her type among creatures is the dove among birds, the 
vine among trees, the sun amidst the stars. It is she that relieves all who 
are in distress and danger ; it is she that subdues disease. It is she that 
restrains the angry fury of the sea. She is the Mary of Ireland." 1 * This is 
not the sole highly-coloured panegyric found in our ancient literature. A 
very old book of vellum, in which is found the Martyrology of Maelruain of 
Tallagh, and also the saints bearing the same name, 1 * 1 with the names of 
many mothers of the saints, states, that Brighit was following the manners 
and the life, which the holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, had practised. 1 * 2 Such 
was her aptitude for devotional feeling, that she possessed every virtue which 
could adorn a child of Mary, or which could endear her to those who were 
around her.^3 



CHAPTER III. 

STATEMENT REGARDING ST. IIRIGID .S PARENTS HER PERSONAL AND MENTAL ATTRAC 
TIONS DURING HER EAREY YOUTH AELEGF.l) TREATMENT BY HER PARENTS HER 
GREAT CHARITY TOWARDS THE PuuR BROUGHT BEFORE DUNLAING, KING OK 
LEINSTER HIS ADMIRATION OF HER VIRTUES HER RESOLUTION TO EMBRACE A 

RELIGIOUS LIFE A SUITOR PROPOSES MARRIAGE WITH ASSENT OF HER FAMILY 

SHE REJECTS THIS OFFER HER RELIGIOUS PROFESSION, AND OPINIONS ADVANCED 

RELATIVE TO IT PROliAHLK TIME AND PLACE ESTABLISHMENT OF ST. BRIGID s 

FIRST RELIGIOUS HOUSE SHE SELECTS THE BEATITUDE OF MERCY FOR HER SPECIAL 
PRACTICE HER MIRACLES. 

A SINGULAR statement has been made, 1 that the parents of Brigid ruled over 

" See " Trias Thaumaturga," Appendix Qui per beatam iirigidam 

Prima ad Acta S. Brigidaj, pp. 599 to 602. Decoravit Hiberniam, 

In this Office, the following is a portion of Yitam dans ejus lucidam. 
the Fifth Lesson : " Religiosa qmedam {&- 

mina postulavit a patre suo, ut S. Brigidx: " Hn?c speculum munditiffi, 

secum exiret ad synodum quaj collecta erat U_ua3 mundo late clamit, 

m Campo Liffaei, et a pater permittitur. Hoec rosa temperantiae 

Tune vir quidem sanctus in synodo dormiens Cujus virtus non languit." 

idit visionem et surgens ait. llxc altera 13 Professor O Looney s Copy, pp. 11,12. 

Maria, qute habitat inter nos. Xespom. ^ From "Life of St. Brigid," in the 

Virgo deportatur, honor ei amplius cumula- "Leabhar Breac," and " Book of Lismore." 

tur : Synodus instabat, nova Brigida Stella -* 1 By some called Homonymi. 

micabat. Sacra cohors plaudit, quia signum ^ 2 See "The Martyrology of Donegal," 

cselitus audit. Vers. Presbyter hanc aliam edited by Rev. Dr. Todd and Rev. Dr. 

denunciat esse Mariam. Sacra cohors Reeves, pp. 34, 35 

d ^;" Jbid > P- 6o - I43 See " The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

These stanzas are as follows : Irish Priest, chap, i., p. 13. 

" Christo canamus gloriam, CHAPTER in. 1 By Camerarius. 

E 



5 o LIFE OF ST. URIC ID. 



the Orkney islands, 2 and had their residence in the province Cathensias in 
Scotia. Under King Congall,-* they helped to prevent Hengist_ and the 
Saxons* taking possession of those islands, according to the same ill-instructed 
ecclesiastical historian. 6 Several particulars, regarding our Saint s _ early 
youth, are supplied by Laurence of Durham, but, these are wanting in her 
other Acts. It is not easy to pronounce, whether some of those accounts 
are furnished by his own fertile imagination, or from authors, who wrote 
before his time. In various instances, however, they present a pleasing 
picture of virtues, that early adorned our Saint. We are told, as Brigid 
grew in age, she increased also in grace. Her natural endowments were 
likewise remarkable. She received an excellent education. To her, the 
Almighty granted personal gifts, which to others are often the occasion of 
danger, in a spiritual sense. Whilst a mere child, her countenance was 
radiant with smiles, but her looks were truly angelic. These even betokened 
her future exalted sanctity. Her figure was moulded with a peculiar grace 
fulness, while her natural intelligence caused the pagan master of her mother 
for we are still left in the mirage of legend to furnish his bond-woman s 
daughter opportunities for acquiring some special culture. Each day added 
effulgence of beauty to Brigid s mental faculties, and to her natural bodily 
endowments ; while, owing to her individual merits, a blessing seemed to fall 
on the Magus himself, who began to grow rich in possession of this world s 
goods. From the very period of our Saint s infancy, it was surprising to find, 
that she exhibited little youthful levity. Her thoughts and actions were 
characterized by sound discretion, and while her lovely features beamed 
with a matronly reserve, she abhorred the follies of old dotards, as much as 
she did the amusements of young persons. All admired her justly-regulated 
mind, her propriety of speech, her dislike of merely terrestrial and transitory 
things, and her perseverance in holy practices. Worldly-minded men 
wondered, that she avoided all companionship with them, and women of light 
character could not but feel mortified, when the holy virgin regarded them 
with horror ; while those pious females, who devoted themselves sincerely to 
God s service, felt rejoiced, when our Saint sought their company and con- 



- These are twenty-eight in number, raid Dr. J. F. S. Gordon, we find no such name, 
they lie directly north from Caithness. See " Scotichronicon," vol. i., pp. 5, 6. 
They are partly in the Northern and partly 5 Hengist invaded Britain in 449. See 
in the German Ocean. In the old 1 ictish Dr. Lingard s " History of England," vol. 
language, they are said to have been i., chap, ii., p. 63. This happened, while 
called Ar Cath, or the Tail of Caithness. Eugene or Evan, the forty-first Scottish 
Hence, classic writers have their denomina- king, was on the throne. He died A.D. 452. 
tion, Orcades. These are divided into the See Buchannan s " Rerum Scoticarum His- 
North and South groups of Islands. Some toria," lib. v., pp. 125 to 131. The Picts 
of these are called Skirrachs corresponding and Scots had made so many inroads on the 
with the Irish word Skerries which are more southern Britons, after the Romans 
chiefly barren rocks, often covered by the abandoned Britain, that King Vortigern in- 
salt-water. Others, which abound in pas- vited the Saxons, under Hengist and Horsa, 
turage, are designated Holms. to make head against their enemies. This 

3 Now Caithness, a district in the extreme success, however, resulted in the final sub- 
north-east of the mainland of Scolland. See jugation of the ancient Britons to the Saxon 
an interesting account of it in l- ullarton s power, yet not without a prolonged and 
"Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland," vol. i., vigorous resistance. In some parts of Wales 
pp. 218 to 222. and Scotland, notwithstanding, the Britons 

4 King Congall I., who was the forty- seem to have held not inconsiderable terri- 
fourth monarch of Scotland, according to tories. See Rev. Thomas limes "Civil 
Buchanan, succeeded Constantine I. After and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland." 
a reign of twenty-two years, King Congall I. Book i., sees. XUX. to LIU., pp. 88 to 95. 
died A.n. 501. See "Rerum Scoticarum 6 See " De Statu Hominis veteris simul 
Historia," lib. v., pp. 133 to 135. In the ac novae Ecclesise, et Sanctis Regni Scotise," 
list of 1 ictish Kings, as furnished by Rev, lib. i., cap. iii., sec. ii., p. 141. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 51 

versation. This most amiable child, from her earliest years, began to 
understand, that modesty should be the companion and guardian of all her 
other virtues ; while, her most earnest desires were directed to cultivate this 
hly of female perfection. In her angelic countenance, in her words and her 
motions, in her gait, gestures, dress and actions, she exhibited that greatest 
adornment of her sex ; but, those exterior appearances were supplied from 
the deep springs of her stainless soul, which would not admit there a single 
trace of impurity to leave any impress. She conceived herself, as bound to 
remove from the gaze of men, whatever might be calculated to afford them 
occasion for sin ; and she knew, that the Almighty diligently searches the 
secrets of hearts, to judge how far the roots of evil passion make progress. 
A virgin, not alone in name, but in truth, frigid left nothing undone to 
increase her merits in God s sight, while she desired nothing, which a true 
Christian should avoid procuring. 

All these virtues, however, did not screen our Saint from the envy and 
persecution of her father s wife thus runs the table when, with her nurse, 
she had been sent to her first home by the Magus. It usually happens, 
either through himself or through his instruments, the Devil pursues with 
malignity those most loved by Clod, and principally, with a view to pervert 
their understanding. Hence, our Saint s step-mother was accustomed to 
rind fault with everything said or done by this unoffending child. Often 
were injurious words and even cruel stripes inllicted on the innocent creature. 
Jsot content with such a tyrannical course of conduct, by her incessant and 
secret denunciation, that wicked woman excited the Saint s father to adopt a 
like treatment towards a daughter he had heretofore so much loved. Thus, 
instead of finding a natural protector in the person of her parent, Urigid 
found a tyrant : ironi being much attached to his daughter, her father became 
a persecutor; his love was (hanged to dislike, and his kindness into the 
it injustice. However, his wile could not urge him to sell his daugh- 
:er, as a slave; yet, she endeavoured to render the girl s position almost as 
intolerable, by directing her to engage in most servile and laborious offices. 
It is said, that moved by his wife s persuasions, her father imposed an obli- 
n of tending swine upon his young daughter.? Without a murmur, she 
accepted such a humiliating employment, to" become reconciled under those 
injuries inflicted by her father, and partially to escape from the malevolent 
ittempts of her step-mother. The young maid frequently meditated on 
s passion, and thence derived most salutary thoughts. She consi- 
:red, that the sufferings of this life are not worthy of being compared to the 
glories of that kingdom, which Christ shall reveal to His perfect ones. So, 

pending much tune out-of-doors, while engaged at an humble employment, 
did not neglect her duties to Cod. When at home, she was either 
occupied in prayer, or in relieving the wants of the poor. 8 During a time 
thus spent, it chanced that her herd of swine dispersed while grazing, so that 
some escaped the supervision of their young guardian. At this moment, two 
tnieves who were passing observed the opportunity afforded them to make a 
seizure. Accordingly, these men drove away two of the swine as a prey. 

ut, it so happened, that Dubthach was distantly seen by the robbers ap- 
iching them ; whereupon, fearing merited punishment, they betook them 
selves to flight. On coming to that spot, where his swine had been aban- 
ed, the master soon discovered, that these were a portion of his herd. 

See "Life of St. Urigid," by an Irish the Saints," vol. ii., February i, p. 16. 
r, est chap, n p. 15. Likewise, Mrs. Anastasia O Byrnc s " Saints 

kev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of uf Ireland," part ii., p. 14. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



Hax me concealed them for a moment, he proceeded to the place where his 
daughter was. Meantime, at first concealing his anger, under an affected 
hilarity and in words calmly expressed, soon he changed this assumed coun 
tenance and tone, by asking his daughter, if she could account for the entire 
number of swine entrusted to her care, without the loss of a single animal. 
The holy maiden, having full faith in Almighty power, entreated her father 
to examine and see if he had the full number. Carefully counting the herd 
Dubtach found included those swine lie had concealed. Astonished at such 
a result, the chieftain then returned to his home.9 

Our pious maid bore her trials with patience and constancy; while 
humility induced her on all occasions to refer her meritorious actions entirely 
to God as she knew that all human virtues have their origin in the bestowal 
of Divine Grace. And, as she had not received these heavenly gifts in vain, 
Bri-id zealously co-operated with them. She advanced each day towards 
the highest de-Tee of perfection. The more humility endeared her to the 
Almighty, the more was His glory manifested through her, m the miracles 
which were wrought. Brigid s virtues are greatly extolled by her pane 
gyrists. 10 All these good dispositions, however, were not a sufficient protec 
tion from her step-mother s enmity. This woman even took occasion to find 
fault with the girl s excellent qualities, for she envied that good repute, 
which was justly due to our Saint s merits. 11 Such malignity seemed to in 
crease each day, and reproaches were redoubled, when it had been reported 
miracles were wrought, on occasion of that theft which had been committed, 
and at the time of her nurse s infirmity. Thenceforward, envy began to 
assume the characteristics of a fixed hatred. All the efforts of a wicked 
woman s malice were directed towards the further persecution of an innocent 
child, on whom a variety of laborious occupations were imposed. Not only 
was the virgin employed as swine-herd, but she was obliged to bake, to cook, 
to weave, to tend sheep and to engage in harvest labours. Still more 
humiliating and onerous offices were exacted from her. These must have 
been sufficient to break the spirit and constitution of any child, even less 
eminently gifted and constituted than our Saint. Yet, Brigid considered no 
work more servile, than that of sin ; and. therefore, she patiently commenced, 
prudently continued, and admirably executed, her various heavy tasks. 
The legend proceeds to state, that the hatred and envy of St. Brigid s step 
mother, once aroused, could not easily be dispelled ; and, as the holy virgin s 
own mother had become a free woman, efforts were made to reduce her 
innocent daughter to a state of servitude. As some plausible pretext was 
even wanting for this purpose, after an anxious scrutiny into the maiden s 
life, no single word or action of her step-daughter being open to reproach, 
resort was had to calumnies and intrigue. 12 The whole tenor of _this sweet 
child s life was one of blameless virtue ; yet, it was sought to give a false 
colouring to her good actions, and to represent them as worthy of blame and 
punishment. It was said, although possessing no property of her own, that 
Brigid notwithstanding bestowed large alms on the poor, and hence she must 
have stolen, what she did. not rightly give away. To her husband, the step- 

9 This is more briefly related in Professor been the daughter of a bard and of a beauti- 
O Looney s Irish Life, pp. 9, 10. ful captive, tells us, the latter was chased, 

10 These are specially enumerated in the like another Agar, by her master, and at the 
Hymn of St. Brogan Cloen. SeeColgan s suggestion of his wife. See " Les Monies 
" Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 1 rima S. Bri- d Occident," tome ii., liv. ix., chap, i., p. 
gidre, sees, 3. 4, 11, 12, p. 1515. 462. . 

11 The Count de Montalembert, whose "See " Life of St. Brigid, by an Irish 
fancy le.uij to the legend of Brigid having Priest, chap, ii., pp. I5> Io - 



LIFE OF ST. BPJGID. 



mother represented a probability of his house being robbed by his own 
daughter, as she abstracted all the value it contained to enrich others, and 
this under the guise of piety. Thus, it was urged, while the maiden extended 
her bounty towards strangers, her own father was likely to be reduced to 
great poverty, unless he took suitable precautions against such a result. 
Hence, the step-mother reasoned, that prevention being better than cure, her 
husband should obviate this state of tilings, as it must prove vain to mend 
matters, when he must be in actual need. In order to prevent the absolute 
poverty of his family, advice was given to sell his daughter as a slave, and if 
he rejected this counsel, it was represented, he must soon experience those 
difficulties, attendant on a complete loss of property. ]5y these and similar 
arguments, the insidious woman wrought on her husband s mind, and in a 
short time, effecting the estrangement of his affections from the holy maiden, 
she excited prejudices against JJrigid. As it formerly happened, when the 
enemies of Daniel the Prophet represented him praying to God, in opposition 
to the king s edict ; 3 so was it now said, that the Saint gave alms for God s 
sake, but at the expense of her father. And, as Daniel had been delivered 
to the jaws of lions to be devoured, so was JJrigid about to be sold as a slave 
to strangers ; yet, since both were found faithful to God, therefore did the 
Almighty liberate them from a fate to which they had been respectively 
doomed. IJrigid s father, however, would only consent to sell his daughter to 
a king or chief, as being herself of noble birth. With this view, a chariot was 
prepared, which Dubtuch drove to the neighbouring castle, where his king, 
named Dunlang, then dwelt. 4 When he haul anived at this place, Dubtach 
left his daughter in the chariot without, vihile he entered the castle to pay his 
liege respects. After discoursing awhile on state a flairs and things of moment, 
their conversation was directed to less important topics. Dubtarh then 
added, that he had with him a virgin, who was to be sold, and that if it 
pleased the king to purchase her, there was every reason to believe she 
should not occupy the lowest place in his estimation among his other female 
servants. In reply to the king s inquiries, Dubtach acknowledged, also, that 
she was his own daughter. The king asked his reason for selling her, and 
was told, that her parents feared she should make him a poor man, since she 
abstracted all his worldly substance to bestow it on the poor. s Thereupon, 
those who attended the king said : " The good report of this your daughter 
has reached all parts of Ireland, and raised her immeasurably in our estima 
tion ; and, it is very strange, that you her father should accuse her of being 
guilty, when all strangers concur in praising her." Whereupon, the king 
commanded her to be brought into his presence. We are told again, while 
Brigid s father delayed within his dynast s castle, a poor man came to ask 
alms from the daughter, when she presented him with her parent s sword. 6 
Her father afterwards introduced Urigid to the king, but, on learning what 
she had done, Dubtach felt greatly concerned at the loss of his sword. This 
was one of great value, and the more prized, as it had been a present from 
the King of Leinster, whom he then visited. Dubtach ordered the mendicant 
to be followed, that his sword might be recovered. Then conducting his 
daughter to the king, the chief angrily complained about the loss he had 

13 Daniel vi. character of this whole narrative preceding ; 

14 In a note, we arc told by Colgan, that for, our Saint is there represented as con- 
the king, whom her father visited, was founding ideas ol charitable actions in prac- 
Dunlang, King of Leinster, as appears from tice with actual sins of injustice, not credit- 
an Irish Life of St. Brigid, cap. xiv. See able to her moral cr religious perceptive 
"Trias Thaumaturga, " n. 10, p. S43- faculties. These are not the sole objections 

15 Sec Rev. S. Baring-Gould s " Lives of that may be taken, against such an incon- 
the Saints," vol. ii., February I, p. 16. gruous and incredible story, under all its 

10 We can easily arrive at the legendary laboured and inventive characteristics. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



sustained through her. Looking upon the young maid, the king greatly 
admired her candour and gravity of countenance, her habit and deportment, 
before asking why she gave that sword to a beggar, which lie had presented 
to her father. Our Saint answered, " Do not wonder that I have bestowed 
what was in my keeping on the poor, since, were it in my power to do so, I 
should give all possessed by you, O king, and by my father, to them; for, 
the Almighty will confer eternal rewards on those, who for His sake give 
temporal riches/" 1 ? Then turning to Dubtach, the king exclaimed: "This 
virgin is too holy and exalted to be either bought or sold, and I have not 
even means for purchasing her, because she is more precious than any amount 
of silver or gold. 18 As for that good sword which she gave to the poor man, 
I shall present you with one equally valuable ; and, if you abide by my 
advice, you will allow her to follow the bent of her own inclinations. "^ 
Approving this advice, and being honoured with gifts, Dubtach returned 
home with his daughter, whose freedom was thus assured. 20 

In continuation of this same narrative, it is stated, that having thus ob 
tained her freedom, the virgin of Christ could conceive no state of servitude 
worse than to abuse her liberty. Wherefore, her human was exchanged for 
a Divine service. She consecrated herself by vow to Jesus, the Spouse of 
Virgins, 21 and being now more at leisure to indulge the bent of her inclina 
tions, she considered all former religious exercises of too little value in the sight 
of God. She macerated her body with increased vigils and fasting. Her 
mind began to soar with greater ease and fervour to pious contemplation 
and Divine love. She imitated the industry of the bee, which, wandering 
through pleasant gardens, collects their sweet juices from various flowers, in 
order to produce a still more luscious essence, in the loaded hive. The 
holy girl is said to have visited the houses of pious virgins, and to have culled 
admirable practices of virtue from the conduct of each, with a view of adapt 
ing them to her own spiritual improvement. Such was her charity, and 
indefatigable zeal in visiting the sick, that whenever she heard about any of 
those holy women being confined to a bed of illness, Brigid immediately 
hastened to afford consolation to the invalid. Nor did she leave the patient, 
until this latter had either been restored to health, or had terminated a mor 
tal career. 

In various accounts, it is related, that Brigid had been sought in marriage 
from her parents. 22 Her great wisdom, not less than her personal attrac 
tions, caused a general admiration.^ A bard suitor, called Dubthach, the 
son of Luguir. is said to have proposed for her in marriage. This man had 
been very celebrated for his learning 2 -* and innocence of life. 25 He was 

? This anecdote is related in L. Tachct 2I See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of 

de Barneval s "Historic Legendaire de 1 the Saints," vol. ii., February i, p. 16. 
Irlande," chap. viii. The writer adds, that 22 See "Life of St. Brigid," by an Irish 

as St. Patrick represented Christian and Priest, chap, ii., pp. 23, 24. 
apostolic perfection, St. Brigid personified 2 3 See Le Comte de Montalembert s "Les 

mercy and charity. See p. 75. V vines d Occidcnt," tome ii., liv. ix., 

18 The foregoing narrative is found related cnap. i., p. 462. 

in Professor O Looney s Irish Life, where =4 He is generally known as one of Ire- 

Dunking is called the son of Lnna. See land s chief poets, in the fifth century. 

pp. 15, ID. ^ Some of the Poems, attributed to him, have 

See " Life of St. Brigid, 1 by an Irish been published in the Rev. Tolin Shearman s 

Priest, chap, n., pp. 21 to 23. " Loca Patriciana," No. vi. " Journal of 

3 See Colgans "Trias Thaumaturga." the Royal Historical and Archaeological 

Qumta Vita S. Bngidce, cap. ix. , xii. , xiv. , Association of Ireland," vol. iii. Fourth 

xv., xvi., xvn., xxn., xxm., xxiv., pp. 569 Series, No. 19, July, 1874, pp. 183 to 196. 

573- Some of those circumstances are 2 s Such account is contained in the Irish 

also briefly related in the Third Life. Ibid. Life of St. Brigid, chapter xv.. as quoted by 

Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. xvi., p. 528. Colgan 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 55 

among the foremost of Leogaire s courtiers 26 to render public honour to St. 
Patrick, and to believe in Christ, as may be seen in the Life of our Irish 
Apostle. 2 ? Various versions of St. Brigid having been sought in marriage 
survive in popular belief. 23 An Irish Life of the Virgin simply states, that 
her suitor was a man of good family, 2 ? which indicates if the narrative be 
accepted that her own birth was respectable, both on her father s and 
mother s side. This proposal is stated to have been acceptable both to 
Dubtach and to his sons. 30 

On a certain day, while she hastened on some errand of mercy, we are 
informed, that Brigid met her brothers on the way. These were four in 
number. One of them, named Baithen, seems to have inherited the perse 
cuting disposition of his mother, and he is said to have addressed the others 
in these terms : " I know not what sort of superstitious vanity urges our 
sister to travel from place to place ; she avoids all familiarity with men, 
moreover, obstinately living and seeming disposed to persevere in a state of 
life repugnant to natural feeling. She will not gratify father or brothers with 
any hope of her bearing children ; but, preferring her own will to that of the 
Almighty, and her own laws to those of nature, she loves a state of virginity, 
with our family dishonour and privation, to the more honourable condition 
of becoming mother over a numerous offspring. But, my brothers, let us 
put an end to this egregious folly, and consulting our family interests, we 
must overcome her designs, seeking for some noble, as a suitable husband 
for her. This, I have no doubt, can easily be accomplished. Thus, shall 
he become the son-in-law of our father, as also a friend and an ally to our 
selves." But, the other young men interposed on her behalf and said : It 
is neither manly nor brotherly to persecute our young sister, especially as 
she has made the better choice, while resolving to leave terrestrial for hea 
venly things, and as she hath chosen Christ to be her spouse, rather than 
man. Would it not be base for us, and dishonourable as brothers, to divert 
our sister from her holy purpose, even if we could effect such an object? 
Should we fail to do so, must it not be equally disgraceful to make an 
attempt, over which her constancy must prevail, thus showing that a single 



26 Colgan remarks, however, thai when Umitics of a young marriage suitor, by set- 

Brigid had arrived at a marriageable age, ting out one night for Castletown Church, 

this Dubthach must have been advanced in which, it is said, was also called CiLL b|\6in. 

years. See " Trias Thaumaturga," Tertia She passed by a small river, taking its rise 

Vita S. Brigid;e, cap. xvii., and n. II, pp. at Sliabh (iuileim, and running in a south- 

528, 5 2 9i 543- ca>t direction, between Faughart Hill and 

2 ? The Sixth Hexameter Life of our Saint Castletown, falling into the bay of Dundalk. 

commences its narrative of the foregoing She knelt by the banks of this stream, and 

circumstances with these lines : escaped her pursuer. At the place, where 

this happened, a much frequented station 

" Proximus huic fuerat juvenis, qui jura used to be held, until the landed proprietor 

parentum cut down certain bushes by the stream, and 

Unica cura fuit ; pulsabat virginis aures altered the whole local appearance. It is 

Per se, perque patrcm, per fratrcs atque said, that after this circumstance, St. Brigid 

sorores, remained at CilL b^v nn, while her sister 

Munera muneribus promittens addere continued to live at CilL 111iiii\e, or Fough- 

plura, art. See " Louth Letters containing Infor- 

Auribus purpureas, argenti pondera, vcs- mation relative to the Antiquities of the 

tes, County, collected during the Progress of 

Divitiasquc domus, millenos prredia, the Ordnance Survey in 1835-1836," vol. i., 

servos." pp. 287, 288. 

29 Such is the account in Professor 

:8 Thus, the people about Faughart have O Looney s MS. Life of St. Brigid, pp. 15, 

a tradition, that while St. Brigid and her 16. 

sister lived in a church at this place, the 3 3 Ibid. Sec, likewise, Bishop Forbes 

holy virgin was obliged to shun the impor- " Kalendars of Scottish Saints," p. 288. 



56 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 

girl may obtain a victory over four men ? Let our sister serve God in the 
way she purposes, and, by our goodness towards her, let us seek her happi 
ness, for if we attempt to disturb it, the guilt will rest on our souls." This 
discussion became exceedingly animated as the subject of it approached. A 
quarrel seemed likely to ensue, when the holy virgin, who had come up to 
them, besought the Almighty most earnestly to restore peace among her 
brothers, and to manifest His Providence in her regard. 3 1 Immediately, as 
the legend relates, one of her eyes became distempered, and it disappeared.^ 2 
So shocking an occurrence, attended with a consequent deformity of features, 
which before had been so singularly beautiful, caused that brother, who had 
so anxiously sought to engage her in a married state to change his intentions. 
Her other brethren, who had contended for our Saints freedom of choice, 
on seeing her beautiful features thus sadly disfigured and injured, felt the 
greatest compassion for her. They cried out, that this privation could not 
have happened, if she had not been opposed in her desire of leading a single 
life.33 They lamented, likewise, no water was near, to wash stains of blood, 
which trickled from her face, thus to assuage her pain, if they could not 
repair that injury, endured by their beloved sister. 34 But, the Virgin of 
Christ, knew that her holy Spouse would be her protector. That she might 
not leave her brothers anxious and inconsolable on her account, Brigid de 
sired them to dig the ground where they stood. With full reliance ^in the 
Divine clemency, our Saint offered her prayers to heaven, when He, who 
formerly produced water from the desert rock, at the stroke of His prophet, 33 
now brought forth a stream from the dry soil, to reward the confidence of 
His favoured child. Her three friendly brothers, amazed at this miracle, 
and full of fraternal affection towards their sister, at once began to apply 
that water to wash her bleeding face, when to their still greater astonishment, 
both her eyes seemed perfect, as before the late privation.36 Full of joy at 
this discovery, they gave thanks to God. But, the brother, who inherited 
his mother s malignant and intractable nature, made use of reproachful ex 
pressions towards them and towards our Saint. For such reproaches how 
ever, he was miraculously punished, by the instant loss of one of his eyes 
This chastisement humbled him so much, that henceforward no serious 
obstacle was interposed to prevent his sister from following the bent of her 
inclinations, and that course of her life, decreed by heaven. 3? 
_ The whole course of Brigid s career was destined to be traced out by 
signs from heaven. In the most recently written lives of our saints Vl -e are 

.. f T " . B j sh P Forbes> "Kalendars of Scot- would not be entertained by Bri-id When 

he I oTd t S> U M StatCd> ?V Bri ^ d aSked CarneStl y P ressed to y ield on thfs point the 
the Lord to send her some deformity, so as Saint prayed the Almighty to inflict on her 

SeeT 288 AlTo^Sunnl 7 f /" " S"^ 1^ ^l def r ^ *& would free 

beep. 288. Also, Supplementum Breviarii her from man s solicitations Then one of 

Romam pro H.berma, Lect iv her eyes melted in her head Still the v 

the Sa intf^ot ""rT G Uld " H VCS f gi " P refer g lo^ of corporal beauty o that 

S ? ee " L fe of st " $M? W "S i ^ S Ul>S virtUC felt ^isfied 4h thfe 

Priest chap t xS 7 M * F7l tion - H ^ ^her knowing this permit- 





n by Cogitosus, 
it is merely said, that her parents more 35 Se e Exodus xvii 

* Thcsei n^dcnt s are somewhat differently 



m 

daughter in marriage; but, although his suit p C7\ S 

was favoured by her father and brothers, it 38 As published by Colgan. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 57 

told, that seven holy virgins 3 ? proposed to themselves a course of spiritual 
discipline under St. Brigid s rule, being animated with a like spirit, and wish 
ing to effect their sanctification, through the instrumentality of this pious 
lady. 40 For, it was now universally acknowledged, that the Holy Spirit 
wrought many wonderful works through our saint, and that all her designs 
prospered, through Divine inspiration. The illustrious virgin considered and 
approved their purposes and wishes. With the greatest readiness and pleasure, 
thinking that she could best promote their spiritual interests and her own, 
she resolved to take the veil with them, and to lead a life, directed by con 
ventual rule. No sooner had their project been mutually agreed to, than it 
was deemed proper to hasten without delay to a certain bishop, named 
Maccalle, 41 and by others, Macculleus. 42 Full of pious fervour, the postu 
lants sought his benediction, and requested through his offices, they might 
be consecrated to Christ. But, this bishop, 43 not knowing their previous 
course of life, and fearing those tender virgins were urged through some im 
pulsive motive, rather than by an inspiration of the Holy Ghost, refused to 
comply at once with the prayer of their petition. For he knew, with the 
Apostle, that episcopal hands should not be lightly imposed on each person 
applying, 44 nor should it be supposed, that every spirit was from God, 4 5 until 
a sufficient probation took place. When St. Brigid found this natural hesita 
tion on the part of the bishop, with a firm trust, she betook herself to the 
oft-repeated expedient of prayer. 40 She besought the Holy Ghost, as she 
had been inspired to undertake a course chosen, thai she might also have 
the consolation to achieve its desired results. The Almighty never fails to 
sustain those, who worship him in spirit and in truth. That the interior 
fervour of this holy virgin might be manifested by exterior signs, while she 
and her companions prayed in the church, 4 ? a column of fire shone above 
her head, and extended even towards the roof of that sacred edifice, to the 
great joy and astonishment of those, who chanced to be present. 45 In ad 
miration at this miracle, the bishop made diligent enquiries about our saint s 



39 In Professor O Looney s Irish MS. Life, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " Sccunda 
the number is not specified, pp. 17, 18. Vita S. Brigidie, cap. iii., p. 519. The 

40 A certain writer of our saint s Acts says First and Fifth Life name him Maccaleus. 
she had only three companions when pro- See ibid. Vita Prima S. Brigido. , strophe 
fessed. " Et assumptit secum tribus puellis 8, p. 515. Vita Cjuinta .S. Brigida:, cap. 
perrexit ad Episcopum Machillan, Sancti xxviii., p. ^73. 

Patricii discipulum." Capgrave s "VitaS. 44 See I Tim. iii. 

Brigidce," sec. 4. 45 See I Cor. xiv. 

41 This seems the more correct form of 46 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life, it 
title ; as evidenced by the Festilogy of is stated, that St. Brigid, through humility 
/Engus, the Martyrologies of Tallagh, of remained last of her companions to receive 
Cashel, of Marianus O Gorman, of Charles the veil from Bishop Mel, until a column of 
Maguire, and of Donegal, at the 251!! of fire arose from her head towards the church- 
April. The same title will be found in St. roof, pp. 17, 18. 

Ultan s Life of St. Brigid (cap. 18), and in *< In one instance, the Third Life states, 

all her Irish written acts. she had eight companions, who received the 

42 The Acts of this saint will be found at veil with St. Brigid. There, too, it is 
the 25th of April. In the edition of Cogi- written, .when she had read prayers and 
tosus, by Colgan, the name is written J\Iac- touched the wooden step of the altar with 
chille and in that of Messingham and Cani- her hand, it became, as it were, green wood, 
sins, he is called JMacca. In the First Life and it continued without decay to the 
of our saint, by Brogan Cloen, he is called writer s time. St. Brigid s eye is said to 
lllAccAille. In a MS. of St. Hubert, he is have been healed, when she received the re- 
designated, Mackdle, and in one belonging ligious habit. See Colgan s "Trias Thau- 
to the Monastery of St. Amand, Alaccille, maturga." Tertia Vita S. Brigidse, cap. 
while in Surius, the name is written, Ala- 18, p. 529. 

48 See "Life of St. Brigid," by an Irish 

4J Called Macchillc by Cogitosus. See Priest, chap, iii., pp. 25, 26. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



parents and her manner ofliving, from the time of her infancy. One of his 
clerics informed him she was Brigid, the wonder-worker, and a daughter to 
Dubtach. Hearing this, the bishop was most anxious to comply with the 
desires of our saint, whose good fame seemed to herald her future career of 
usefulness in the Church. He placed a veil on the heads of herself and of 
her companions,^ as he knew heaven had already, in a miraculous manner, 
decreed approval of this ministerial agency. It happened, at the same time, 
while sacramentary rites of benediction took place, 5 our holy virgin applied 
her hand to the wood which sustained the altar, 51 and which appeared quite 
dry and seasoned, 52 as it had long being stripped of its leaves and bark.ss 
It is said, immediately upon being touched by St. Brigid, that it became 
virescent.54 On a subsequent occasion, when the church, where such oc 
currence took place, had been consumed by fire, that particular portion 
escaped the flames. 55 Thus, as he had formerly wrought great miracles 
under the Old dispensation, Almighty God would chose to continue his 
works under the New, through all time loving His elect and affording His 
protection to them. While the children of Israel journeyed towards the 
promised land, He preceded them by a pillar of fire f j and while St. Brigid 
directed her course towards the heavenly country of her adoption, by the 
column of fire ascending heavenwards, He directed her thoughts from a 
terrene to a celestial ambition. The Third Life relates, three virgins 5 ? ac 
companied her, on their visit to Bishops Mel 58 and Melchu. An Irish Life 



43 In the Third Life of our saint, it is re 
lated, how she took with her three virgins, 
with whom she went to the territory of the 
sons of Neill, and to the saints, Bishops 
Mel and Melchu. These are stated to have 
been disciples of St. Patrick, and to have 
had a disciple named Macaille, who said to 
Mel: " Lo, the holy virgins are without, 
who wish to receive the veil of virginity at 
your hands." When he had introduced 
them before Bishop Mel, and while the latter 
was looking at them, on a sudden, a column 
of fire seemed to surmount the head of 
Brigid. 

50 The Fifth Life of our saint has it, " in 
ter ipsa benedictionum sacramenta," kc. 
"VYe are not to understand, that the profes 
sion or clothing of a virgin is to be classed 
amongst the sacraments of the Church, pro 
perly so called ; but, it is assigned to the 
sacramentalia distinguished from the sa 
cramenta. By sacramentalia are understood 
a variety of benedictions and consecrations, 
which do not confer sacramental graces, 
peculiar to the effective administration of 
the seven sacraments. See, in reference to 
this distinction, Devoti s " Institutionum 
Canonicarum," libri iv. , tomus i., lib. ii., 
tit. ii., sec. i., pp. 365, 366. If the word 
sacramenta be found in Laurence of Dur 
ham s original MS., it seems to have been 
improperly introduced for sacramentalia. 
However, such verbal introduction may 
have been the error of a copyist. 

51 See Camerarius, " De Statu Hominis, 
veteris simul ac novffi Ecclesioe, et Infidelium 
Conversione," lib. i., cap. iii., sec. ii., p. 
140. 



5 2 See the "Life of St. Brigid," by an 
Irish Priest, chap, iii., pp. 27, 28. 

5; In the following Latin verses, R. P. 
Bandinus (Jualfredutius, S.J., has recorded 
this miracle : 

" Arida quod tencro revirescunt robora 

tactu, 

Inquc suo vivit stipite vita redux ; 
Virginese memoranda colas miracula dex- 

trrc ; 

U rentes nunquam senserat ilia faces." 
Lib. i., " Sacrorum Mensium," pars. i. 

54 Here there is a comparison between the 
wood becoming green, to show the purity of 
those holy virgins present, and between the 
rod of Aaron, putting forth leaves and fruit. 
A writer adds : "quia ilia qua 1 per eandem 
virgam prsesignabatur, et virgo simul et 
mater fuit. " See Colgan s "Trias Thau- 
maturga." Vita Quinta S. Brigid cc, cap. 
xxviii., xxix., pp. 573, 574. Also, ibid. 
"Vita Friina S. Brigidse," sees. 8, 9, p. 
575- "Vita Secunda S. BrigidK," cap. 
iii., p. 519. 

53 This is alluded to in our saint s various 
offices, and it is generally stated, such a 
mirr.cle reconciled her parents to that happy 
choice of life she had made. Also, it is re 
lated, in the " Chronica Gcneralis Mundi," 
and by Petrus de Natalibus. 

56 See Exodus, xiii., 21, 22. 

57 Numerical accounts vary. Colgan ob 
serves, that in the Irish Life of our saint, 
cap. xiii., in the Fifth Life, even in this same 
Third Life, and in every account of St. 
Brigid, seven other virgins are described as 
having been veiled with her. 



LIFE OF ST. BR1GID. 



59 



of St. Brigid states, that she was veiled in the territory of Feratulach ; 3 ? while 
Mel and Melchu lived in a town of Medi or Midio. 60 Regarding the fore 
going incidents of our saint s life, in rather a different manner, the Sixth or 
Hexamater Life of this holy virgin presents us with another narrative. 61 
However, notwithstanding apparent inconsistencies, Colgan is of opinion, 
that the latter may also be reconciled with former statements ; for, as this 
illustrious virgin was to be espoused to Christ, might not St. Patrick have 
entrusted the charge of such an office to his disciple and nephew, Bishop 
Mel, 62 and might not the latter have deputed it to his disciple St. Maccalleus ? 
Thus, to each of them might be attributed a part in the ceremony of veiling, 
although it be immediately and properly referable to the ministry of St. 
Maccalleus. 6j 

Some modern Anglo-Scottish writers, taking Hector Boece 64 as guide, 
relate, that our St. Brigid of Kildare was veiled by St. Macchilla, Bishop of 
Sodor, in the Isle of Mona, 65 or Man, about the year 443. But, the casual 
affinity of name seems to have occasioned this error. As already seen, the 
bishop who veiled St. Brigid was called Maccalle or Maccalleus ; while, the 
Bishop of Sodor that being the episcopal see of the Isle of Man is called 
Machaldus and Magiul, by Joceline, 66 Mac-fill by Probtis/ 7 and Mac-Cuill 
in an Irish MS. of the Life of St. Patrick. 63 Although both of those persons 
alluded to had been bishops and flourished in St. Patrick s time ; it is certain, 
that this Maccullius or Macaldus, Bishop of Sodor or Man, was altogether 
different from St. Maccalleus, 6 ^ the consecrator of St. Brigid, not only in re 
ference to time, place and acts, but, even as regards the name. Differences 
between them in point of time show that they must be distinguished. For 
St. Maccalleus, 70 the consecrator of St. Brigid, was bishop before he veiled 



5 s In Professor O Looncy s Irish MS. Life, 
not only is it stated, that St. Brigid went to 
take the veil from Bishop Mel, but it is even 
asserted, he bestowed on her the honour of 
a bishop, "above all other women, so that 
it is the honour of a bishop the men of Erin 
give to the successor of St. Brigid ever since," 
pp. 17, 1 8. Such account indicates great 
antiquity for this Irish Life. However, it 
must be remarked, that St. Brigid received 
confirmation from St. Mel, and hence pro 
bably arose some confusion between his hav 
ing conferred orders and the veil on this 
pious virgin, as stated by some old writers. 
See "Obits and Martyrology of the Cathe 
dral Church of the Holy Trinity," edited by 
John Clarke Crosthwaite and Dr. James 
Hcnthorn Todd. Introduction, p. xcviii. , 
and n. (y), ibid. 

59 In Professor O Looney s Irish MS. 
Life it is called Tealach Midhe, pp. 17, 18. 

60 By this is probably to be understood, 
the district of the Methians in Ultonia. See 
"Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Tertia S. Bri- 
giclffi, cap. xviii., and nn. 12, 13, pp. 529, 

543- 

61 The Irish Life of St. Brigid in the 
Leabhar Breac likewise renders some por 
tions of it different from that in the Book of 
Lismore. In the latter we read from Pro 
fessor O Looney s English translation : " On 
the eighth hour Brigid was born, and on a 
particular Wednesday in the eighteenth 
[year of her age] she took the veil, in the 



eightieth [year of her age] she went into 
heaven. On the eighth, Brigid was conse 
crated under the eight beatitudes [foods] of 
the Gospel, which she fulfilled, and the food 
of mercy is what Brigid used to call them," 
pp. 17/18. 

62 See on this subject, Rev. James lien- 
thorn Todd s " St. Patrick, Apostle of Ire 
land." Introductory Dissertation, pp. n 
to 14. 

63 As the native word mac signifies a son, 
hence Tirechan, who wrote St. Patrick s 
Acts a thousand years before Colgan s time, 
when speaking of a certain church founded 
by the Irish Apostle, in the southern part of 
Meath, observes, "in qua S. Brigida pallium 
csepit sub manibus filii Caille in Uisnech 
Midhe." 

64 See "Ilistoria Scotoram," lib. ix., fol. 

158- 

6 s According to Camerarius, the sepulchre 
of the Scottish kings was in the Island of 
Mona. See " De Statu Hominis, veteris 
simul ac nova? Ecclesio!, et Sanctis Regni 
Scotia} ;" lib. i., cap. iii., sec. ii., p. 141. 

66 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Sexta Vita S. Patricii, cap. cli. p. 98. 

c ? See ibid. Vita S. Patricii, lib. ii., cap. 
x., p. 53- 

68 Lib. iii., cap. 35. 

69 lie was a disciple to St. Mel and to 
Melchu, the nephews of St. Patrick. 

70 He lived, died and was venerated in a 
part of Leinster, called Ifalge, in a place 



6o 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



her 7< and he died in the year 4 S9- 72 But, St. MacCuill or Maccaldus, after 
wards Bishop of Man, it is stated, does not seem to have been baptized, 
much less consecrated as bishop, when St. Brigid had been veiled 
sides, circumstances of their lives and deaths, their acts and the places in 
which they flourished, evidence their non-identity. _ 

Bro^an Clocn states, 74 that Maccalleus placed the veil over St. Bngids 
head ;75 while the Calendar of Cashel and Maguire? 6 corroborate such an 
account By both the latter, too, are we informed," that this holy man had 
been venerated at Cruachan Brigh-eile,? 3 now Croghan Hill," m the former 
territory of Hy-Failge or Offaly> In like manner, Tirechan and Cogitosus ai 
assert, that the virgin received her religious dress, at the hands ot Bishop 
Maccalle. 82 To one well versed in the Irish language, it will be found, that 
both names, Maccalle and Macald are distinct, although from their ambiguity, 
or supposed affinity, they have led writers to confound St. Maccalleus with 
St. Maccaldus. 83 



called Cruachan, as appears from several 
Lives of St. Brigicl, published by Colgan. 
In no writer do we read of his having been 
a robber, in any part of Ulster, called Mag- 
inis, or that he there exercised his vocation, 
alter St. Brigid had been veiled and rendered 
renowned by her miracles, or after St. 
Patrick traversing Minister had returned to 
Ulster. 

7 1 "While Ussher assigns this veiling to 
A.D. 467, Dr. Lanigan thinks it may be ad 
mitted, that she was professed in the year 
469. See "Ecclesiastical History of Ire 
land," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. iii., p. 386. 

7 2 As the Annals of the Four Masters" 
have it from those of Senat-mac-magnus, 
of Clonmacnoise, and of the Island. 

73 By Ussher, Maccaille has been con 
founded with Maguil or Maccaldus, Bishop 
of Man. In this island, it is said, likewise, 
our saint was veiled. See Dr. Lanigan s 
" Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, vol. i., 
chap. viii. , sec. iii., and mi. 39, 40, pp. 386, 
388. 

? 4 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. 
Ilymnus, sen Prima Vita S. BrigicUv, p. 515. 

75 Regarding St. Brigid s virtues and mira 
cles, a short time after this holy virgin s 
death, we find the following Latin version 
of his Irish Hymn : 

" Posuit avibas Maccalleus velum 
Super caput Sancta; Brigidce 
Clarus est in ejus gestis ; 
In cciolo exaudita est ejus petitio 
Deum preeor in omnibus adversis, 
Modis omnibus, quibus valet os meum, 
Profundiorem pelago, inagnihce praxli- 

cabilem. 

Trinum et Unum. Veridica narratio." 
Ibid. 

7 6 Commenting on St. /Engus " Festi- 
logy," he calls it "the white veil." 

77 At the 2Sth of April. 

? 8 In a letter, dated Tullamore, January 
4th, 1838, John O Donovan identifies Crua 
chan Bri Eile with the present conspicuous 
Hill of Croghan, in the parish of Croghan, 
mid in the barony of Lower Philipstown. 



It lay within the ancient territory of Ofalia. 
It rises on the confines of ancient Mcath 
and Leinster. See "Letters containing 
Information relative to the Antiquities of 
the King s County, collected during the 
Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1837," 
vol. i., pp. 104 to 115. 

73 On the very summit of Croghan Hill is 
a small moat or sepulchral iitimiliis. This 
seems to have been the monument of Congal, 
alluded to in the " Laoidh na Leacht," or 
Poem of the Monuments. 

Itv.rc Congo.ilc-, 
po|\ V>i\i CiLe -j\o ]\oenrA. 
Ibid., p. no. 

f From the top or moat on Croghan Hill, 
the whole level plain or cl<\i]\ of Ofalia and 
its natural boundaries maybe seen ataglanee. 
It stretches, nearly as level as a lake south 
wards, to the foot of the Slieve Bloom Moun 
tains, and to the Sugar Loaf shaped Hills, at 
Killone, in the Queen s County, and east 
wards to the Hill of Allen, in Kildare 
county. See ibid., p. 112. Dr. O Donovan 
describes the extent of this territory, which 
he illustrates with hand-drawn maps from 
pp. 24 to 47, ibid. 

ai He calls it " a white one." Sec Col 
gan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Secunda 
Vita S. Brigida 1 ," cap. iii., p. 519. 

"- "We have already seen, that the Irish 
Martyrologists name the saint venerated at 
the 25th of April Maccaille, i.e., films Caille. 
Colgan remarks, that Mac signifies son, and 
Caille is either the proper name of a man, 
or if it be appellative, it has the signification 
of (i veil : so that in Latin, Mac-caille could 
be rendered filins veil, he having obtained 
such a n;m,c perhaps, from the circumstance 
of his having veiled St. Brigid. 

8 3 The Bishop of Man, in St. Patrick s 
Irish Life and elsewhere, is called Mac- 
cuille ; by Probus Mac-fill or Macfail ; and 
by Joceline he is named Macaldus, in Latin ; 
thus by use of the single c, it seems to be 
supposed, that in Irish, he was called Ma- 
caill or JMac-aild. The Irish word Call, 
which in the genetive case becomes Cuill, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



6r 



The profession of St. Brigid is held to have occurred A.D. 46 7. s -* or 
possibly A.D. 469. 5 That our Apostle St. Patrick 56 officiated on this occa 
sion 87 has been affirmed by such writers as John Brampton 88 and Henry of 
Marlborough.^ According to another account, - she was veiled by two holy 
bishops, who were disciples of St. Patrick. In his Life of the saint, Ultan 
relates, that she received the veil from Bishop Mel^ 1 a disciple of St. 
Patrick ;? 2 and the same statement is to be found among her other acts, in 
the Irish language. This representation has been adopted by Harris. 9 J 
However, the story about St. Mel of Ardagh having veiled her is contra 
dicted by the best authorities, and it is not even worthy of refutation, in Dr. 
Lanigair s opinion. - -* It is to be regretted, that we have not on record the exact 
name of that church, 95 in which St. Brigid made her religious profession. 
Cruachan Brigh-eile it is usually called. - 16 From the account left us by 
Cogitosus, that church -?? would seem to have been renowned for religious 
pilgrimages in his day. and to have been the scene of numerous miracles, 
wrought on behalf of the devout clients of our saint. Still, this unnoted church 
has possibly been identified. -^ It is thought to have been on the eastern side 
of the conspicuous Hill of Croghan,-^ near Tyrrell s Pass, on the confines of 



has the same signification as ;/;//; and the 
word Caill, the same as r.vv./; the word 
faol as Ti <>// ; whilst all, aid or alt means a 
forest. Wherefore, Mac-cnill, Mac-caill, 
Mac-aill m Mac-aild may have the signifi 
cation <.->{ flints niicis, filiits svli a , films lufr, 
or ft// us .r, /////.I-, in Latin ; as it the name 
had been bestowed on him, "ex eo quod in 
sylvis et saltibus latrocinia exercebat. " 
Colgan adds, dial these notices are given 
by him, not because he would assert, that 
he had furnished the right origin for such 
proper names ; but, because they show dif 
ferences existing between them, and may be 
adopted, until better interpretations or de 
rivations are offered. With those two names 
of the saints in question, and from many ap 
pellatives of saints in Ireland, which com 
mence with J/<?< - , scarcely one at least 
adopting its etymological origin can be 
considered a name proper to whom it may 
be applied, but many are conventional. 

84 See Ussher s " Britannicarum Ecclesi- 
aruni Antiquitates," cap. xvi., p. 336. 
Also, Index Chronologicus, A.D. cccci.xvn. 

85 See Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical His 
tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., section 
iii., p. 386. 

80 Joceline relates, that St. Brigid was 
present at a sermon of St. Patrick, in a 
place called Finnabhair. Afterwards, St. 
Patrick went to Minister, where, as well as 
in other Irish provinces, he spent nine 
years. See Sexta Vita S. Patricii, cap. 
xciv., xcv., pp. 86, 87. Colgan s "Trias 
Thaumaturga." 

87 Some writers place St. Patrick s death 
so early as A.D. 458, while others say that 
he lived until A.D. 493. See " Life of St. 
Brigid," by an Irish Priest, chap, iii., p. 
28. 

88 See " Ilistoria Joronalensis," ad ami. 
1185. 

8 In his " Chronicle," at A.D. 493. 



- See " Ily-lorie plurimorum Sanctorum 
noviter et laboriose ex diversis libris col- 
lecte. Louvanii, A.D. 1485, 410. 

> See, in reference to this account, " The 
Hook of Obits and Martyrology of the Ca 
thedral C hurch of the Holy Trinity," edited 
by John Clarke Crosthwaite and Rev. James 
Ilenthorn Todd. Introduction, pp. xcvi. 
to cii., with accompanying notes. 

- See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Tertia Vita S. Patricii, cap. xviii., p. 519. 

9* See Harris Ware. Vol. iii., " Writers 
of Ireland," book i., chap, iii., p. 12. 

9- He adds : "It is to be found in the 
Third Life (cap. 18), with the author of 
which Mel appears to have been a great fa 
vourite Vet, however 

partial to Mel, it mentions Maccaille, but 
makes him a disciple of Mel, and represents 
him as introducing St. lirigid to him." 
" Ecclesiastical History of Ireland," vol. i., 
chap, viii., sec. iii., p. 3^8. 

95 In the Second Life, it is stated, while 
the saint made her vows to heaven, she 
touched a wooden support, on which its 
altar rested. Cogitosus says, in his time, 
this wood was still green, as if it had not 
been cut down and barked, but had yet re 
mained attached to its roots and growing. 

9 Bri Eile or Croghan was the church of 
St. Maccaille. See "Letters containing 
Information relative to the Antiquities of 
the King s County, collected during the 
Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1837." 
John O Donovan s letter dated Tullamore, 
January 4th, 1838, p. 112. 

w This was "in the city Medi." See 
Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of Scottish 
Saints," p. 288. 

9 8 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., n. (m), p. 152. 

99 The parish of Croghan is described on 
the " Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for 
the King s County." Sheets 3, 10. On 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



the King s County and Westmeath. No church at present marks this site, 
but a frequented graveyard is to be seen on the spot indicated. The place 
itself is elevated and greatly exposed to the action of passing winds. It would 
seem, according to another opinion, that our saint received her religious habit 
at Huisneach Midi, 100 usually supposed to have been identical with Usny 
Hill. 101 According to Tirechan, Maccaille was then at this place, 102 which, 
although not his usual residence, was probably comprised within his ecclesi 
astical district. 103 Likely, also, the church had been built of wood, and had 
not suffered from fire, down to the time, in which Cogitosus wrote. This 
accident occurred, however, before the Latin Hexameter or Sixth Life of 
our saint had been composed. Allusion is there made to the miraculous 
circumstance regarding that portion of the altar, touched by the holy virgin, 
having escaped conflagration. 

Although certain writers have assumed, that St. Brigid made her religious 
profession so early as her fourteenth year ; ia * yet, nothing has appeared in 
evidence to sustain this opinion. It is true, before the passing of a decree, 
at the Council of Trent, that age was deemed sufficient for receiving the 
veil. Hector Boece 105 seems therefore to have inferred St. Brigid s earliest 
acceptance of her privilege. 106 On this subject, a more reliable authority 
declares, St. Brigid must have been at least sixteen years old, at the period of 
her consecration, as in those times, that was the earliest age, compatible with 
the performance of such a ceremony. It is probable, she had attained this latter 
age, at least, as her parents considered her marriageable, at a time she ex 
pressed her preference for the state of virginity. In the early ages, conse 
crated virgins lived with their friends, and discharged the ordinary household 
duties. Afterwards, it was found more desirable they should live in com 
munity. Strict enclosure was of a later date, and it was gradually introduced 
among the religious houses. It is needless to state, how much it has con 
duced to promote sanctity in such holy institutions. :o ? 

Maccaille is said to have clothed her with a white cloak 108 and to have 
placed a white garment or veil over her head. Relating like circumstances, 
Tirechan says, that she received the pallium from Mac-Cuille or Maccaille. 
It is worth while remarking, the dress of ancient nuns was white ; nor were 
there any distinct orders of religious females in Ireland, until some centuries 
after St. Brigid s time, as all consecrated women followed the same rule she 
had observed. I0 9 

A learned Irish ecclesiastical historian 110 will not have it inferred, that 

the latter maybe traced the curious anti- iii., and n. 41, pp. 386, 388. 

quities adjacent to the ruined church on "? See "The Life of St. Brimd " by an 

Croghan Hill. Irish Priest> chap> ^ pp _ ^ 

ln * rofessor O Looney s Irish Life, " s The white garment of St. Brigid is 
ic place of her profession is said to have mentioned in her Third Life. See Col- 
been at Tealach Midi, where Bishop Mel gan s "Trias Thaumatunja." Tertia Vita 
was then living, pp. 17, 18. In other S. Brigidse, cap. 108, p. 540. 
words, this place may be rendered Tulach ^ Such is the inion of Dr _ Lani 
Midi or the Hill of Mcath. w h o adds : " \Ve find nothing about cutting 
in the present county of Westmeath. of hair, which was not practised in the pro- 
- According to Lssher. f ess ion of holy virgins as early, or, at least 
Hist C nfV r i T lgt ? S Eccles i astical ^ generally, as the regulation for their 
.01 y of Ireland, vol. i., chap, vn., sec. wearing a particular habit."" Ecclesias- 
Vo 4 P c 33 ?, c -p . tical History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., 
the Sir ts " V> ?-.? a g- Gould s Llves of s<*. iii., n . 34, P- 387. He quotes Tille- 
nts, vol. n, February I p. 17. mont s " Memoires pour servir a 1 Histoire 
ssher and other writers drew similar Ecclesiastique," tomus x., pp. 84 to 302 : 
accounts from him. _ and Bingham s "Ecclesiastical Antiquities," 

L>r. Lamgan s "Ecclesiastical book vii., chap, iv sect 6 

History oi Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. " Dr. Lanigan. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



our saint s father resided in the ancient province of Meath, as lie is con 
stantly called a Leinsterman. According to the same writer, he seems to 
have lived not far from Kildare, where J rigid afterwards founded her nun 
nery. 111 The reason why she had recourse to Maccaille was probably, be 
cause he was then the nearest bishop to her father s house ; and, as the con 
secration of virgins was reserved to the episcopal order, a priest could not 
receive her profession. It is a matter of considerable difficulty to determine 
the place, where the holy virgin first established her religious house. Accord 
ing to a local tradition, we find it stated, St. Urigid and her sister lived in 
Faughard Church."- This, however, is unreliable. Another opinion has 
been offered, 1 3 that our saint founded her first religious establishment in 
that part of the King s County, which formerly belonged to the ancient pro 
vince of Meath, as may be conjectured from its having been not far from 
Usneach or Usny hill, 11 * where Urigid received her veil. The place is 
spoken of, as being surrounded by the towns of Meath. "5 Usny hill" 6 is 
not far distant from the present King s County. 1 7 There Maccaille seems 
to have usually resided. In Fearcall, formerly a part of Meath, now the 
baronies of liallycowen and l!allyboy, IlS in the King s County, there was 
a place called Rath-brighide, i.e. lirigidstown." Dr. Lanigan supposes, St. 
Lrigid s dwelling was either about that district, or in an adjoining one of 



111 " In the Fourth Life (L. 2 c. 3) it is said 
that after an ab-eiu e of sonic duration, she 
returned to her own country, that is, to the 
district where her relatives roided, and that 
in said tract a place was assigned to her for 
erecting a monastery fur holy virgins, after 
wards called Kill-dara." " Lccle-.ia>tical 
History of Ireland," chap, viii., g iii., and 
37. ] ! . 3 S 5, 3 SS - 

"- Tradition states, that it is likewise 
called Cill Willie, or "the Church of 
Mary." See " l.outh Letters, containing 
Information relative to the Antiquities of 
the County, collected during the Progress 
of the Ordnance Survey in 1835," vol. i., 
p. 287. 

11 ? I!y Dr. Lanigan. 

114 It lies about four miles north-west from 
the Castletown station of the .Midland Rail 
way, and in the county of \Ve>tmeath. The 
hill i.s a long swelling green eminence, ly 
ing east and we-t. It has never been sub 
mitted to the plough. It has two summits, 
and the eastern one is occupied by an an 
cient cemetery. A broad avenue formerly- 
led to it from the south, and the lines of this 
are still traceable on the green sward. With 
the exception of the Cat Stone, and some 
smaller earth-works, on the lower part of its 
eastern slope, no other structural works re 
main on the hill. See " Proceedings of the 
Royal Irish Academy," second series, vol. i., 
No. 7. A paper (xvii.) read by Samuel 
Ferguson, LL.l)., Vice President, February 
26, 1872, "On Ancient Cemeteries at 
Rathcroghan and elsewhere in Ireland (as 
affecting the question of the Site of the 
Cemetery at Tallin)," p. 1 18. 

115 See C olgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " 
Vita Tertia S. Urigida. , cap. xxi., p. 529. 

" 6 Interesting engravings, representing a 



ground plan of Usneach cemetery, and a 
sectional part of its upper surface, are pre 
sented by I )r. Ferguson, in the paper to 
which allusion has been already made. The 
principal cemetery enclosure is an irregular 
circle, or rather a square, with the angles 
rounded oil, being about 250 feet in dia 
meter. Subsidiary to this, there is on the 
western side an annexe of the same general 
outline. This is about 180 feet in diameter. 
There appears to have been a five-fold par 
tition in the enclosures. Lach division con 
tains tniindi, and some of these seem to have 
been erected un the intersection of demarka- 
tion mounds. All have been opened. In 
the western division, the mouth of a cave 
has been exposed. Other holes in the sur 
face show where the roofing stones have 
filled up passages. These mounds and tii- 
iniili are exhibited on the ground plans. 
See pp. 1 19, 1 20. 

17 In his account of the parish of Conra, 
I )r. O I)onuvaii gives some notices of Cnoc 
Uiynij;, or the Hill of Usneach, on which 
the pagan monarch Tuathal Teachtmhar 
erected a longpkort in the second century. 
See "Letters containing Information re 
lative to the Antiquities of the County of 
\Yestmeath, collected during the Progress of 
the Ordnance Survey in 1837," vol. i. 
Letter of John O Donovan, dated Bally- 
more, Lough Sewdy, September 1 7th, 1837, 
pp. 117 to 125. 

IK This place has been improperly con 
founded with St. Brigicl sTown in " The Life 
of St. Urigid," by an Irish Priest, chap, iii., 

P- 34 ; 

119 This conjectural statement of Dr. 
Lanigan has been unreservedly adopted as a 
correct one, in " The Life of St. lirigid," by 
an Irish Priest, chap, iii., p. 34. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Westmcath. 120 As in the immediately subsequent events of St. Brigid s 
career, the great central territory of Teathbha, or Teffia, 121 is frequently men 
tioned, it seems likely enough, her first religious house was situated either 
within that district, or at least in a not very remote situation from it. Per 
haps, owing to the recorded intimacy and friendship between herself and 
Bishop Mel, her community, at first, was under his supervision and guardian- 




Old Church Ruins at Ardagh. 



ship, and it may have been at Ardagh, where at present a very ancient 
ruined church is shown. 122 It is one of the most cyclopean and archaic 
type. I2 3 The door-way was perfect, but remarkably low. I2 4 Also, it must 
be observed, that a very prevailing popular tradition associates St. Brigid 
with St. Mel, as a chief patroness of the Ardagh diocese, 125 and a holy 



1:0 He adds, that wo may find a Tegh- 
brighide, or Brigid s house, in Kinel-fiacha 
i.e., the country about Kilbeggan. See 
" Ecclesiastical History of Ireland," vol. i., 
chap, viii., sec. iii., and n. 47, pp. 386, 
389. 

121 This territory, called Teffa, in Certani s 
Life of the Saint, lay north and south of 
the Ethne or Inny river. The former, in St. 
Patrick s time, included the greater part of 
the present County Longford, and the latter 
the western half of Westmeath County. See 
" The Topographical Poems of John O Dub- 
hagain and Giolla na naoinh O lluidhrin." 
Edited by John O Donovan, LL.IX, p. ix. 

- The greater number of its stones arc 
eight feet long. These ruins are to be seen 
at the south-east angle of a modern grave 



yard. See letter of John O Donovan, dated 
Edgeworthstown, May i8th, 1837. "Letters 
and Extracts containing Information relative 
to the Antiquities of the County of Long 
ford, collected during the Progress of the 
Ordnance Survey in 1837," p. 39. 

123 This has been sketched by George De 
Noyer, and it is to be found among the folio 
drawings in the Royal Irish Academy s 
Library. It has been thence transferred to 
the wood and engraved by Mr. Gregor Grey 
of Dublin for this work. 

z - 4 In 1837. The church itself was never 
very large. 

J - s Such information the writer has re 
ceived from Very Rev. Thomas Canon 
Monaghan, P.P., Loughduff, in the Diocese 
of Ardagh. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 65 

well 126 dedicated to her is to be seen near the town of Ardagh. 1 - 1 ? In one 
of our saint s lives, \ve are told, that the bishop, 123 who received her reli 
gious profession, prepared a suitable place for her monastic habitation, 12 ? and 
presented her with so many cows, as there were members in her coramu- 
When she and her sisters took possession of their dwelling St. Brigid 
applied herself anew to labours, to vigils, to fasting, to prayer and to divine 
contemplation. Thus, she endeavoured to advance in the narrow paths of 
perfection, on which she had already entered. Although excelling others, in 
station and merits, yet would she manifest her humility, by claiming to be an 
associate merely in that society she had founded. JJy her example and 
encouragement, she induced many ladies to embrace the most sublime 
practices of a religious profession. 1 - 1 The bishop and people of the district, 
m which she lived, felt delighted with her sojourn in that place. Even they 
showed themselves more desirous oi contributing to relieve the corporal 
wants of the community established, than these religious were to receive 
their gifts. If any superfluities remained, these were bounteously bestowed 
on the poor, by the holy superioress, and according to the measure of their 
necessities. 1 -- 

On a certain day, Maccaille invited St. Brigid and her nuns to a banquet. 
But, when the table had been laid, and the viands placed thereon, the holy 
virgin entreated that bishop to refresh the minds of his guests with spiritual, 
before they should partake of corporal, food. To this request he willingly 
assented, and exercised his eloquence, by taking as the subject of his dis 
course our Divine Lord s exhortation from the mount. He dwelt on the 
various virtues of a Christian, and especially on those eight beatitudes, by 
which the kingdom of heaven is secured. At the conclusion of his discourse, 
St. Brigid said to her nuns : " My dearly-beloved sisters in Christ, we are in 
number eight virgins, and eight virtues are proposed to us for your obser 
vance and sanctincation. Although, whoever has one virtue, in a perfect 
degree, must necessarily possess many other religious excellencies, as every 

:S There is no well in the parish of Ar- tions eight, although a few lines before it 

dagh dedicated to St. Mel, and it is strange states that St. Brigid set out fr.jin her father s 

that St. Brigid is the patron. Her holy well, house with only three of them. It seems 

called Toberbride, lies in the tuwnlund of that when they arrived at the place where 

Banghill. See John O Donovan s letter, the bishop was, they met four or five other 

Edgeworthstown, May jbtli, 1837. postulants. "Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical 

Letters and Extracts containing Informa- HUory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. 

tion relative to the Antiquities of the County iii., n. 44, pp. 388, 389. 

of Longford, collected during the Progress > "In the first ages of Christianity in 

of the Ordnance Survey in 1837," pp. 38, Ireland, circumstances did not warrant the 

39- strict enclosure, nay, it was not enforced in 

I his well and the old church are noted any part of the Church ; and consequently 

on the "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps Brigid and her companions lived in com- 

for I . t 8 llc Countv of Longford." Sheet 19. munity, under a certain rule, without being 

See the "Life of St. Brigid," by an bound to remain within the precincts of their 

Irish Priest, chap, iii., p. 35. convent." "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

_ - 9 In the Third Life, it is stated, that the Iri^h Priest, chap, iii., p. 34. 
eight virgins, veiled with St. Brigid, and -See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
their parents, said to her, "Do not leave us, Quinta Vita S. Brigidae, cap. xxx., p. 574. 
but remain with us, and occupy a dwelling In the Breviary of the Canons Regular of 
in this place." Then, we are told, Brigid Lateran, it is said, so many virgins were in- 
remained with them. See Colgan s "Trias duced to imitate St. Brigid s example after 
Thaumaturga." Tertia Vita S. Brigidre, her profession, that in a short time Ireland 
cap. 1 8, p. 529. was filled with religious houses of nuns, 

130 The distinctive number of holy women, while the house in which our saint lived was 

that first joined St. Brigid, has been thus the principal one on which all the rest were 

reconciled. "The Fifth Life (cap. 28, dependent. 
seq.} has seven; the third (cap. 18) men- 

F 



66 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



single virtue is bound up and connected with one of a different kind ; how 
ever, let each of you select whatever particular beatitude you may desire 
for your special devotion/ This injunction pleased ail the holy sisterhood, 
and they asked their superioress to make her first choice of a virtue, as she 
held a first position among them. Without a moment s hesitation, St. Brigid 
selected Mercy for her particular practice. However, although she culti 
vated this beatitude, because she considered without it, that all other virtues 
must be inefficacious or of little account ; yet, day and night she ceased not 
the performance of other meritorious actions, connected with her high 
vocation. Her religious sisters also applied themselves witli constancy and 
fervour to their sanctification, through that virtue of their special choice ; 
nor did they relax in their efforts, until rewards promised for their holy am 
bition were received. Having thus refreshed their souls with aliment of the 
Divine word, on invitation of Bishop Maccaille, they partook of those 
viands placed before them. Thenceforth, it was the constant habit of St. 
Brigid, during the whole course of her life, never to take corporal refresh 
ment, until she had first fortified her soul with God s holy word. 1 ^ 3 

As a light placed in a candelabrum cannot be hidden, so the frequent 
recurrence of miracles caused Brigid s fame to be diffused, through all parts 
of Ireland. Innumerable holy virgins and widows, embracing a rule of life 
under her direction, and resolving to abandon all things for Christ s sake, 
flocked to her religious fold. Thus God s pious servants became greatly 
multiplied. Still the holy abbess was particularly solicitous that virtues and 
merits should be increased. Although moral goodness does not usually 
abound to a very exalted degree, except in large religious communities, yet, 
virtue consists not in having many together so much as in a store of merit ; 
and a numerous sodality is not so much to be admired as a fervent one. 
Neither should it be a desirable object, for many to live in community, un 
less they are sanctified by the practice of distinguished virtues. Through 
her illustrious example and precepts, our holy abbess urged her sisters to 
advance from one grade of perfection to another ; with argument, by en 
treaty and by the exercise of authority, she withdrew those who were frail 
from their errors ; while she manifested the liberality of her disposition, in a 
care for the poor. She even deprived her monastery of means necessary 
for the support of its inmates, with a view of releasing from want many suf 
fering members of Jesus Ghrist. 13 * On a certain day, three religious pilgrims 
visited St. Brigid and her nuns. These were regaled with bacon and other 
food. Yet, not wishing to eat the three different portions of bacon set 
before them, they secreted this meat, while partaking of other refreshments. 
On the succeeding day, St. Brigid saluted them, and requested them to see 
that food they had concealed. Then they found, that their three portions of 
flesh meat had been changed into so many loaves of bread. At another 
time, two of those men were about to engage in manual labour, while the 
other, and the youngest, remained in the house. St. Brigid asked this latter 
man Avhy he did not go out of doors to work with his companions. The 
stranger replied, that he wanted the use of one hand. On examination, 
Brigid found such to be the case. Immediately she restored it to a condi 
tion, which enabled him to engage with his comrades in their out-door em 
ployment. J 35 The Acts of this holy woman abound in such wonders. 



134 Ibid., cap. xxxii., p. 574. 



Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La Santit; 



Vita cli S. Brio-Ida Ibcrnese/ 




Libro Terzo, pp. 170 to 176. 

135 See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. 
Vita Tertia S. Brigidaj, cap. xix., xx., p. 



LII-E OF 57. BRIG ID. 67 



CHAPTER IV. 

REMARKABLE MANIFESTATIONS OF PROVIDENCE IX ST. BRIGTD s REGARD SHE CURES 
MANY DISEASED AND AFFLICTED l KRS( j.VS HKK HofNTIES AM) HOSPITALITY SHE 

VISITS ST. II;AR isisnop MI:I. S REI.IGIOUS INTIMACY \vrni ST. HKIGID HER 

MIRACLES IN THEIiA OK Tl.l FIA .SAID TO HAVE MET ST. PATRICK AT TAILTIN 
HER I oWER OVER DEMONS. 

THF. incidents of St. Prigid s life are differently arranged by her various 
biographers, so that it is almost impossible to trace them out in succession, 
or place them in any exact chronological order. 1 I!y different writers of our 
Saints Acts, there are various miracles ascribed to her; but, as the periods 
and places in \\h;ch these occurred are not usually particulari/ed, it may be 
proper to comprise within circumscribed limits "the recital of such super 
natural occurrences. However, some of the miracles attributed are of such 
a vague and an improbable nature, that their relation may rather tend to 
obscure than to illustrate her history, and further to crowd it with unauthentic 
statements. 

In her Life, as written by Cogitosus, we are told, that on a particular 
occasion, when St. Bridget was visited by some l!i>hops, who were her guests, 
she found herself at a loss to provide in a certain respect, (or their entertain 
ment. Having only one cow to supply their wants, contrary to her usual 
custom, she was obliged to milk this animal, three different times during the 
same day.* She found, notwithstanding, as great a quantity of milk had 
been furnished by this animal, as the three best of cows usually produced.3 
Perhaps then, or at another time, a band of thieves, coming from a certain 
province, passed over a river and stole some oxen, belonging to our Saint. 
But, on their return, the river became swollen within its banks to such a 
degree, that in attempting to cross it, those freebooters were drowned, and 
their bodies were swept down its course ; while, the oxen, escaping to its 
banks, returned to the herd with those reins, by which they were secured, 
hanging to their horns. 

During the time ot harvest, a day being appointed for reapers to assemble, 
in order to cut down some corn, which was ripe, and \\hichbelongedto 
the Saint; it so happened, clouds began to darken, and afterwards these 
dissolved in torrents of rain. Throughout a whole district, harvest labours 
were necessarily suspended, during the continuance of those heavy showers; 
still, our Saint s labourers exercised their vocation a whole day, from the 
rising to the setting sun, without even the least impediment. Yet, in all the 
neighbouring districts, rains poured down without cessation, flooding the 
whole country with ponds and rivulets of water, s 

CHAPTER IV. See "Life of St. Brigid," -* See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
bv 2 a " . Ilncst > cha P- lv -> P- 4*>. Cogitosus Vita S. Brigidse, cap. xvii. Also, 
is narrative seems somewhat incon- "Vita I rima S. Brigidre," sec. 27, pp. 516, 
Sistent with an account previously given, 520. This circumstance appears to he re- 
she received a cow for each religious lated in a different manner by Capgrave, in 
sister m her convent. Vet, her bountiful that Life of St. Brigid, which is contained 
ition and her necessities might have in the " Legenda Sanctorum Anglire Scotise 
diminished the number of cattle she then et llibernia:," cap. xiv. 
own |d. ( s When celebrating the Virtues and Mira- 
Secunda Vita S. Brigida:," cap. cles of St. Brigid in his Irish Hymn, St. 
vi., p. 519. Also, "Vita Cnunta S. Bri- Brogan Cloen has this incident recorded, 
xxvn., pp. 575, 576. This See " Prima Vita S. Brigidie," sec. 15. 
miracle is also given in the " Prima Vita S. Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," p. 510. 
JBngidae, sec. ( 16, p. 516. Colgan s "Trias Cogitosus or " Secunda Vita S. Brigidre," 

cap. v., p. 519. "Tertia Vita S. Brigidae," 



68 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



St. Brigid wrought many miracles, in favour of persons afflicted with 
leprosy and other diseases. 6 Those were relieved from their various infirmi 
ties.? She restored to sight, by her prayers, a man who was born blind. 8 
The lame and infirm were likewise cured, through intervention of the holy 
virgin.? An instance is recorded regarding a woman, with her daughter 
only twelve years of age and born dumb coming to visit our Saint ; the 
latter, stooping down with great humility, kissed the child, who exhibited by 
her looks and gesture an affectionate reverence of manner, which the virgin s 
virtues so well merited. Ignorant concerning that defect of speech, under 
which the child laboured, Brigid took her by the hand, and addressed some 
affectionate and pious inquiries, as to whether she designed taking the veil 
or embracing another mode of life. Her mother declared, the daughter 
could give no answer. Brigid replied, she should not relinquish that child s 
hand, until an answer had been given. Being asked the question a second 
time, the girl said, " I desire to do only what you wish me." And from that 
time forward, she spoke without the least impediment. 10 Afterwards, she 
remained in a state of celibacy, to the very hour of her death. 11 According 
to other accounts, St. Brigid had been approached, in the first instance, 
through the medium of another pious female, named Darlugdacha most 
probably one of her own nuns, and her immediate successor in the govern 
ment of her institute at Kildare. 12 The mute girl s mother had secured the 
good offices of this Darlugdacha, or Durlaghacha, as we also find her 
called on behalf of the afflicted daughter. The restored girl afterwards 
remained under care of St. Brigid. 13 

Our Saint possessed the gift of multiplying in quantity various kinds of 
food and drink, which she either touched or blessed. Thus, we are told, 
when the Paschal or Easter day was near, on a certain time, Brigid wished 
to prepare a banquet for all the Meathian churches, ^ in various towns^ of 
that province, surrounding her own establishment. There was a scarcity of 
corn prevailing in this particular district at the time, and she had only very 
limited means at command to enable her to effect such an object. The 
small quantity of beer she possessed was contained in two tubs, 16 as she had 
no other vessels to hold it ; but, this beverage was divided into measures, 

cap. c., p. 540. " QuartaVita S. Brigida:," ibid. Also, Camerarius, p. 140. 

lib. ii., cap. Ixvii., p. 560. " Quinta Vita 9 See Capgrave s "Vita S. Brigidre," 

S. Brigidre," cap. xli., p. 577, ibid. Cap- cap. xviii. 

grave also states, that from the rising to the I0 See "Trias Thaumaturga, " Vita Prima 

setting of the sun, not one drop of rain fell S. Brigidse, sec. 22, p. 516. Cogitosus, or 

on St. Brigid s reapers. See " Legenda Secunda Vita S. Brigidn:, cap. xviii., p. 

Sanctorum Anglire, " &c. , in Vita S. Brigidre, 520, ibid. 

cap. xxiii., and also Messingham s "Flori- "See Capgrave s "Vita S. Brigidae," 

legium Insulfc Sanctorum." This account is cap. xxv. 

contained, likewise, in Petrus de Natalibus, I2 In such case, her festival occurs, also, 

in Camerarius, in the " Chronica Generalis on the 1st of February. Her acts may be 

Mundi," and in many of St. Brigid s Offices. seen immediately succeeding those of St. 

6 See the Lections of her ancient Office, Brigid. 

contained in the Breviary of Aberdeen. ^ See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of Scottish Tertia Vita S. Brigidce, cap. cxxvi., p. 541. 

Saints, " p. 289 . Quarta Vita S. Brigidre, cap. xci. , p. 562, ibid. 

7 See, likewise, Officium S. Brigidae, ii. "4 This seems to indicate her living, with 
Nocturne, Lect. v. De Burgo s Officia her religious, in the province or diocese of 
Propria Sanctorum Hibernian," p. 12. Also, Meath most likely in its western part. 

at the same day, Supplementum Romani I5 From this statement, we may infer, 

Breviarii, as used in the Irish Church, Noct. how populous that district had been. 

n ., Lect. vi. ifi | n one barrel, according to Lections of 

See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," St. Brigid s Office in the Breviary of Aber- 

Pnma Vita ii Brigidee, sec. 21, p. 516. deen. See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of 

becunda Vita S. Brigidae, cap. xii., p. 520, Scottish Saints," p. 289. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 69 

and distributed among eighteen neighbouring churches or monasteries. It 
served for the abundant refreshment of those in attendance there, during 
Holy Thursday, Easier Sunday, and the week following. 1 ? At another time, 
according to custom, Bishop Maccaille paid the Saint a visit, being accom 
panied, however, with an unusual retinue of clerics. Brigid joyfully and 
hospitably received them. Having heard the word of God proclaimed by 
them, she prepared to minister in turn for the corporal refection of her 
guests. She placed whatever viands she could procure on the table ; yet, 
with the exception of a very small quantity of beer, contained in a vessel 
she had no other kind of drink than water. 13 However, presuming on God s 
goodness, she made a sign of the cross over the beverage, when it was 
miraculously increased, so as to satisfy more than the wants of all her as 
sembled guests. And, we are told, that several vessels were filled, with the 
contents of this particular measure, through the holy virgin s merits ; as 
formerly the Almighty had filled the widow s cruise of oil, through the 
Prophet Elias. 1 ? ^ The bishop and his clerics departed, after having expe 
rienced the hospitality of their pious hostess, and even more gratified because 
of her merits and the miracle she wrought, than with any corporeal enter 
tainment she afforded them.- 

It happened, that a scarcity of corn prevailed in the Liffey s plains, on a 
certain occasion, and St. Brigid was requested by her nuns to visit St. Ibar 21 
a bishop who then dwelt in the plain of Gesille 22 to ask him for corn. 
Our Saint assented, and on her arrival, she was joyfully received by this 
holy bishop. However, when Brigid and her companions came, he had 
nothing for their entertainment, but stale bread and some bacon. Although 
this visit took place in Lent, both saints partook of such fare but, two "of 
the nuns, who accompanied our Saint, refused to eat portions of bacon set 
before them. A miraculous occurrence, however, reproved their recusancy. 
St. Brigid heard of it. and she greatly blamed her nuns in St. Ibars presence. 
She ordered them, at the same time, to go out of doors, and to commence a 
penitential fast. Then said Brigid : "Let us fast with them, and pray to 
God." The Almighty heard their prayers, and soon afterwards a second 
miracle was wrought. Bread was set before them, and when blest, it was 
partaken of by the saints. 2 - Bishop Ibar asked Brigid the cause for this her 



7 Sec Colgans "Trias Thaumaturga," lS This account is also briefly given in 

Vita lertia S. Brigidse, cap. xxi., p. 529. Professor O Looncy s Irish Life of St. Bri- 

Lt is said, that the quantity supplied "ad gid, pp. 19, 20. 

clausulam Paschrv. This seems to mean, "> iii. Kings xvii. 17. 

to the following Sunday, or "Dominica in - See Cnl-an s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

Albis, which closes the Faster Octave. Vita Quinta S. Brigidffi, cap. xxxvi., p. 575. 

Ibid, n. 15, p. 543. During the same Faster, - For further particulars, on this subject, 

is stated, that a certain leper came to Colgan refers to the Life of St. Ibar, which 

her, and demanded the gift of a cow. But, he intended to have published, at the 27rd 

not being able to afford him this present, of April. 

Brigid asked, if : ;.o should pray to God, "This "Campus Gcsilli," called Mag- 

it he might be healed from leprosy; when "esillt, in Irish, was situated in the district of 

the leper replied, that he would esteem such Hi Falgi or Offaly, not far from the Liffy s 

favour as the greatest of all gifts. The plains. It was connected with a tragic and 

saint then blessed some water, with which unnatural incident, in our early history ; for 

she sprinkled the leper s body, and he was old chronicles state, that Heremon, Kino- o f 

lately cured of his disease. lie gave Ireland, there slew his brother Heber, when 

s to God and remained with St. Brigid, contending about the respective boundaries 

: time of his death. Ibid, cap. xxv., of their provinces. See Miss M. F. Cusack s 

p. 529. I his seems to be the same miracle, " Illustrated History of Ireland," chap v 

which is a little more diffusely and differently and n. 7, p. 78. 

related, in the "Vita Quinta S. Brigidoe," ^ In the Third Life is mentioned a very 

cap. xxxiii., pp. 574, 575, ibid. wonderful transformation "in duos Eucheas 



?0 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Lenten visit. Then she told him her desire to obtain a supply of corn. 
The bishop smiling said : " O Brigid, if you had seen and known the quan 
tity of corn in our possession, you should find, that the amount of our gift to 
you must be small." The virgin replied, " This is not the case, at present, 
for you have twenty-four waggon-loads of grain in your barn." Although the 
bishop had only a very small quantity at first, yet on enquiry, he found the 
prediction of the holy abbess verified. He gave thanks to God, and then 
he divided the heaps. Ibar retained twelve waggon-loads for his o\vn use, 
reserving the remaining twelve for Brigid and her sisterhood. 2 * It would 
seem, that this visit of the Abbess had been returned by Bishop Ibar, for in 
the Sixth Life of our Saint it is related, how he then celebrated Mass in a 
solemn manner for all the people 23 who were there. 26 In the Third Life of 
our holy Abbess of Kildare, we find the following recorded miracles. One 
of her nuns had been afflicted with a severe illness, and this patient asked 
for a little milk. 2 ? But, Brigid s community had no cow to afford it ; when, 
the Saint told a companion to fill with cold water, and then_to give the ves 
sel to the sufferer. Such an order having been complied with, it was found 
replenished with milk, and warm as if this had been just drawn from the 
cow. 28 When the sick nun tasted this beverage, she recovered. Two 
females, belonging to her own family, and who were paralysed, lived near St. 
Brigid. These asked the holy abbess to visit and heal them. She complied 
with their request. When she arrived, having blessed salt and water, of 
which those women partook, both were soon restored to health. Afterwards, 
two Britons, who were blind, had been conducted by their servant, a leper, 
to the gate of that church, near which the Saint dwelt. They asked her to 
heal them. She then told them to enter the refectory and to eat, while she 
should pray for their salvation. They indignantly cried out, " You heal the 
sick of your own family, but you neglect strangers and attend only to prayer." 



inpascha&in natalitiis Domini." Put, in both saints partook of meat, during Lent, 

a note on this passage, Colgan remarks, was owing to a prevailing scarcity of other 

that the text is here vitiated; for, in the prescribed food, and owing to a dispensation 

Book of the Island, "oblatas panis" is read from usual Lenten observances. The nuns 

for "duos Lucheas," and in the Fourth of St. frigid, rejecting their permission, 

Life, lib. ii., cap. xxii., " in duos panes ;" .seem to have given way to a species of vain 

while in both these Acts are wanting the glory, preferring to obedience the practice 

words, "in pascha & in natalitiis Domini." of their customary Lenten mortifications. 

The author of the Third Life would seem to See " Quinta Vita S. Brigidse," cap. li. lii., 

insinuate, in Colgan s opinion, that those p. 580, ibid. See, also, an account of this 

miraculously transmuted portions of bread miracle in the "Vita Sexta S. Brigidae," 

were usually exhibited on the festivals of sec. xlvii., p. 59 2 > ibid. 

Easter and of the Nativity, for a commemo- 25 "Ibarus ad cellam vir sanctus venerat 

ration. And, by the term " Eucheas " may alma 

be understood the Eucharistic breads, not Dicere missarum populis sollenrnia 

sacramentally consecrated, or perhaps only cunctis. " 

blessed bread, or resembling the Eucharistic 26 Immediately after the lines previously 

species. However, that account in the quoted, Colgan says, that certain portions 

Fourth Life, as given in the text, seems to of the Poem seem to be missing. The last 

controvert his opinion, regarding their pre- line is marked, as if for a note, which, how- 

servation, for any popular exposition. ever, lias been omitted in the proper place. 

24 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," See "Vita Sexta S. Brigidae," sec. lii., p. 

Tertia Vita S. Brigida;, cap. liv., pp, 552, 593. " Trias Thaumaturga." 

553, and nn. 27, 28, p. 543, ibid. Quarta ^ In the Lections in St. Brigid s Office 

Vita S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. xxiii., xxiv., taken from the Breviary of Aberdeen, we 

P- 5S3> ih d- The foregoing incidents are find a similar statement made in reference to 

somewhat differently given in the Fifth Life, this remarkable recovery. See Bishop Forbes 

where we are told, Ibar had not more than " Kalendars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. 

four or five measures of corn in his barn, 28 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life this 

when Brigid first arrived. The reason, why account is given, pp. 19, 20. 



LIFE OF ST. RIG ID. 7 1 



She received this reproof by meekly going out from the church, and taking 
blessed water to them. When she had sprinkled them with it, the leper was 
cleansed and the blind men saw. All three praised God. and returned 
thanks for such benefits as lie there bestowed on them. 

A woman came one day to St. Brigid. That visitor drove a cow, with its 
calf, which had been intended as an offering for the abbess. However, the 
calf strayed away into a very thick wood. Finding she could not drive the 
co\v without it, the woman called out with a loud voice, that Brigid might 
assist her. Immediately, the co\v went gently with her conductor, and direct 
to the virgin s house. Brigid then told the woman to feel in no way con 
cerned about the calf, which should soon follow in the traces of its dam. 
Another day, when the Octave ot Easter had closed, -> lirigid said to her 
nuns, " Hath that beer reserved for our Easter solemnly been given out, for 
I am solicitous regarding Bishop Mel, and the guests of Christ? The nuns 
rcpl;e,l, that God would send them a sufficiency. Then they brought on their 
shoulders a vessel filled with water to the Saint, that she mi-lit bless it, 
according to her usual custom. Supposing it to be beer, their abbess said, 
" A\ e give thanks to God, who hath reserved this lor our bishop." On exa 
mination, it was found, that water had been changed into such a beverage, 
as had been mentioned by the Saint.-""- 1 At u certain time, likewise, she 
sufiered irom sore eyes ; and on hearing about her ailliction, the same Bishop 
Mel sent a message she should visit him. so that both might seek a physician 
to heal her. Bn^id said, although not desiring to visit a corporal physician, 
yet she would act as the bishop directed. It so happened, the Saint fell 
from her chariot, into the ford of a certain river. 1 whilst on her way with 
the bishop to si_ek the practitioner. Her head struck against a stone, and a 
great quantity ot blood began to How irom her wound. -> J After such an 
accident, that medical professor whom they sought, met them on their way. 3-5 
Placing his hand on the Saint s head, he cried out : O holy virgin, a physi 
cian infinitely superior to me hath healed thy head, and always seek that 
physician, who is able to expel all manner of disease from thec." Bishop 
Mel then said to her : 1 shall never again advise you to seek any human 
physician."- 54 

The fame of Brigid s holiness, in a short time, caused this wonder-worker 
to be known and universally admired by the bishops, clergy, religious, and 
people of Ireland. 1 ler miracles had most beneficial effects on the newly- 
convertcd Christians, while they caused a great man}- conversions among 
the Pagans. St. Mel and other distinguished prelates held with her frequent 
spiritual conferences and took her counsel.- 5 Alter the foregoing occurrences, 
as related by her biographers, Bishops Mel and Melchu, with St. Brigid,3 6 



39 This account occurs in Professor O Loo- Vita Tertia S. Brigidic, cap. xxvii., xxviii., 

ney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 19, 20. p. 529. See, also, Vita Quinta S. Brigidce, 

* This miraculous occurrence is more cap. xlvii., xlviii., and n. 12, pp. 578, 579, 

minutely detaik , ;:i the Tilth Life, chap. 640. / /</. In (lie latter Life, it is stated, 

xxxv j; St. lirigid suffered from a pain in her head. 

31 This is briefly stated in the Lections of That physician, to whom Mel sent her, was 
the Breviary of Abenieen for St. Braid s Bishop Lclieus, Lchenus or Lchianus, of 
Cilice. See Bishop Forbes Kalendars of whom it is said, he was skilled in the know- 
Scottish Saints," p. 289. ledge and practice of various diseases, and 

5J The Third Life adds, that when it was in the remedies lor their eure. 
mixed with water, two mute women were "See "The Lite ol St. Brigid," by an 

restored to the use of speech. Irish Priest, chap, iv., pp. 39, 40. 

K These accounts are also given in Pro- 3 From the poetical description in our 

fessor O Looney s Irish Life oi St. Brigid, Saint s Sixth Liie, it would seem, that this 

pp. 19 to 22. journey had been undertaken in the middle of 

34 bee Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga, " the Summer season, and with a view of 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



proceeded towards the plain of Theba, 3 ? or Teffia, where the aforesaid prelate, 
Mel, had a large monastery. 38 During this journey, the favoured virgin wrought 
many miracles. 3 ? The ancient principality of Anghaile 40 seems to have been 
their point of destination. While the Virgin and her companions dwelt 
there, the King of Theba 4 - 1 gave a banquet, at some distance from their 
dwelling. An awkward servant, on approaching the royal table to remove 
a precious vessel of priceless material and workmanship,-* 2 chanced to let it 
fall, when it was immediately broken in pieces. ^ Full of anger, this king 
arbitarily ordered him to be bound and put to death. But, on hearing about 
such a cruel and an unjust sentence, Bishop Mel sought the king to intercede 
for that captive. The chief, however, would not grant his petition. Then 
Mel gathered up the fragments of the broken vessel, and brought them to 
St. Brigid. He asked her to repair it, and she effected this task. 44 The 
captive was subsequently liberated ; while the fame of such a miracle diffused 
itself throughout that part of the country. 45 

Near this place, St. Brigid was asked to visit another pious virgin, 46 called 
Briga, 4 7and at the house of this latter. Her house was at a place called Kilbrige. 48 
Our saint accepted such an invitation at the time, as she had often done on similar 
occasions. Arriving at the house, she was received with great joy and honour. 
According to the usual custom of treating guests, her feet were washed ; and, 
after the water had been removed, it cured another nun, whose feet were 



assisting at a council held by St. Patrick. 
At this Synod, many prelates were present, 
from remote places. Regarding those bis 
hops and our Saint, it is added : 

" Cum quibus ilia snis pen-exit sanctapuellis; 
Tempore quo rutilus torrenlia sol gemino- 

rum 

Sidera perlustrat ; ardent confinia Cancri, 
Fit calor in terris, fervet sol igneus astris." 

37 Colgan says of Thebe or Theba, that it 
was a plain known as Teffia or Teffa, other 
wise called Anghaile, in the county of Long 
ford. See "Trias Thaumaturga, " Vita 
Tcrtia S. Brigidre, n. 16, p. 543." 

3 s This monastery was Ardagh, which 
afterwards grew into an Episcopal See. 
Ibid, n. 17. 

39 In favour of the blind, lame and af 
flicted. We are told, also, that during the 
progress of herself and of her companions, 

" rectis properando gressibus ibant 
Fluminis ad ripam cujusdam nomine Banns." 

It seems more probable, however, that Baruze 
should be the reading, as probably the River 
Barrow is meant. 

40 The Muintir-Fearghaill or family of the 
O Ferralls were its chief lords for many 
centuries, although in point of genealogy, 
the O Quinns of the same race were their 
seniors. They had sometimes sovereignty 
over that sub-section of Fergus s race, on 
the east side of the Shannon. Still, they 
never ruled over the whole race of Fergus, 
who had large territories in Connaught, as 
likewise in Thomond and Kerry. See 
"The Topographical Poems of John 



O Dubhagain and Giolla na Naomh O Hu- 
idhrin." Edited by Dr. O Donovan, n. 
277, p. xxxviii. 

41 The King of Longford, he is rather in 
exactly called in the "Life of St. Brigid," 
by an Irish Priest, chap, iv., p. 41. 

42 The writer of her Third Life says, this 
vessel among our ancestors was called 
" Septiformis Calyx." It might be a curious 
subject for enquiry, to ascertain the exact 
form and material of this cup or chalice. 
Have we amongst our ancient vessels any of 
a peculiar shape, to which this and the 
following description might apply? The 
many-sided mether, or drinking cup of the 
ancient Irish, may have been one of its 
class. It is said to have been " a richly 
ornamented vessel " in Professor O Looney s 
Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 21, 22. 

43 From this account, we may infer, that 
the material was either glass or pottery- 
ware. 

44 This account is contained, but in a 
brief way, in the Lections of the Breviary of 
Aberdeen. See Bishop Forbes " Kalen- 
dars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. 

45 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Tertia Vita S. Brigida), cap. xxix., pp. 529, 
530. Sexta Vita S. Brigidse, sees, xxvi., 
xxvii., pp. 587, 588. 

46 She is called Brigid the daughter of 
Conaille [Congal] in Professor O Looney s 
Irish Life of the Saint, pp. 21, 22. 

47 This Briga or Brigh is supposed to have 
been venerated at the 2ist of January, or 
again her feast may be found at the 9th of 
March. 

48 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 
Irish Priest, chap, iv., p. 42. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 73 

crippled.^ One day a woman came to our saint, with a present of apples,* 
while Erigid dwelt in the plain of Theba. Before that woman left the place, 
some lepers came up demanding alms. Brigid told the woman to divide 
this fruit with them. Then her visitor replied, " I brought these apples, not 
for lepers, but for yourself and for your nuns. Such a remark displeased 
our saint, and she rebuked that woman for her want of charity, telling her at 
the same time, her trees should never afterwards bear fruit.* 1 On returning 
to her house, the woman found not a single apple remaining in her orchard ; 
although, only a short time before, her trees were bending with fruit. Thence 
forward, her garden remained barren, according to St. Brigid s prediction.* 

At another time, St. Brigid journeyed through the plain of Thebe in her 
chariot, when, with many cattle, she saw a man, his wife and whole family, 
labouring and bearing heavy burthens. These greatly wearied them, as the 
heat of summer was then excessive. Compassionating these people, our 
saint gave them the horses, which were under her own chariot, to assist 
their efforts. At this time, with her nuns, she sat down on the way-side. 
Brigid then said to her religious daughters, " Dig beneath the sod which is 
near, that a well of water may be produced, for some persons shall come 
hither, who although having food, shall require drink." J laving obeyed her 
orders, and dug a few feet, a fountain immediately sprung up in the place. *3 
After some short time, with a great number of persons on horse and foot, 
accompanying him, a certain chief came to the place. Having learned, that 
St. Brigid had given away her horses, he presented her with two untrained 
ones. These became as tractable under her management, as if they had 
been accustomed to the traces of her chariot."* Afterwards, some of St. 
Patrick s disciples and family are related to have passed the same way. 
These said to Brigid : ; We have laboured on our journey, having food, but 
no drink. ; The sisters of our saint replied, that running water had been 
prepared for them to drink, and that the abbess had predicted their arrival. 
Then all cat and drank together, while the fame of our saint was extolled. 
Thanksgiving was likewise returned to the Almighty, for such a blessing. 

While St. Brigid was travelling, with a great crowd, two lepers followed 
her, and according to her usual custom, she kindly received them. How 
ever, these miserable creatures quarrelled with each other, and proceeded to 
blows. Meantime, the arm of that man, who struck first, became curved, so 
that he could not lift it; while, the right hand of his opponent, which had 
been raised, could not be moved again to its natural position. The hands 
of these lepers remained in the condition described, until St. Brigid on com 
ing up healed them. Then they repented." At another time, our saint s 
chariot was brought to carry a sick man, who was at the point of death. 
About even-tide, he was conveyed to the place, where our saint resided; 
and, on that very night, his recovery set in, so that by morning he was 
able to walk. On finding this to be the case, some lepers asked for her 



49 See, Tertia Vita S. Erigidrc, cnp. x\-\-., Vila Tertia S. Brigida}, cap. xxxi., p. 530. 

p. 530. VitaQuintaS. Brigid a?, cap. xlv., Vita Sexta S. Brigida;, sec. xxx., p. 586, 

xlvi., p. 578. Vita Sexta S. Brigidie, sees. ibid. 

xiv., xviii., pp. 584, 585. 55 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

30 This anecdote is contained in Professor Irish Priest, chap, iv., p. 45. 

O Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 23, 54 The foregoing circumstances are related, 

2 4- with more prolixity, in the Sexta Vita S. 

* This anecdote is more briefly related in Brigida. , sees, xxxi., xxxii., xxxiv , pp. 588, 

the Lections of St. Brigid s Office in the 589. Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " 

Brevhry of Aberdeen. See Bishop Forbes ^ The same account is given in Professor 

" Kalendars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. O Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 23, 

S2 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 24. 



74 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



chariot. This vehicle, with her horses, the virgin is said to have bestowed on 
them. 56 

Being invited, St. Brigid went to a certain nunnery, in the territory of 
Theba, to celebrate Easter. The pious abbess 5 ? of the place, on Holy 
Thursday, 58 asked all her sisters, who would wish to wash the feet of certain 
infirm nuns.w All seeming to feel repugnance for this office, St. Brigid de 
clared her willingness to assume such a task : and the abbess was pleased 
with a compliance, which she knew to have been inspired by heaven. Four 
of the nuns were then infirm ; one was a paralytic, another had been subject 
to epileptic fits, one was a leper, and another had been blind. 60 Our saint 
first began to wash the paralytic, who said to her : " O holy mother, pray to 
Christ for me, that I may be healed. Brigid prayed for her, and she was 
instantly restored to health. 61 While our saint remained in this part of the 
country, she occupied a cell for some days, and it chanced, also that a boy 
who had been mute and a paralytic 6 - was there, although St. Brigid was 
ignorant about his infirmities. Some passengers arrived, who asked for 
food. 6 ^ Our saint enquired from this boy, if he knew where the cellar key 
was to be found. He immediately spoke and said " I do." Brigid replied, 
"Go, and bring it to me/ 6 -! The paralytic, hereupon, arose cured, and pre 
sented the keys, Avhilst, afterwards, with the holy virgin, he ministered food 
to the guests, after the Scottish manner. 65 When returning home, this boy s 
friends were greatly astonished on finding him both walking and speaking. 
The boy told them circumstantially how he had been healed ; and all who 
heard his account gave thanks to God and praised His holy servant. 66 At a 
time, the holy bishops Maol and Maolchu 6 ? came to St. Brigid. They 
asked, if she would accompany them on a visit to their sanctified patron, 
Patrick, then dwelling in the plain of Bregh. 63 Our saint replied, that she 
very much desired to do so, as she wished to obtain his blessing. Then 
those holy bishops set out on their journey, with Brigid and her companions. 
A certain cleric, who had a large family, with cattle and two waggons, asked 



r 56 See, also ; " Trias Thaumaturga. " Sexla St. Brigid, pp. 23, 24. 

Vita S. Brigidse, sees, xxxviii., xxxix., p. 64 This is somewhat differently related in 

the Lessons of St. Brigid s Office in the 

She had probably been the subject of Breviary of Aberdeen. See I .ishop Forbes 
58 c, IV 1 afllllate house - "Kalemlars of Scottish Saints." p. 289. 
_ See Life of St. Brigid," by an Irish 6 s Colgan has appended a note, to the 
lr !^ ! P- 43. 44- corresponding Latin passage, iu which he 
/y p. ac( j ount , ls varied in the Lections proceeds to show a question not so much 
St. bngid s Office as found in the Bre- debated now as in his time that the Irish 
yiaryot Aberdeen. See Bishop Forbes were anciently called Scots, as St. Brigid is 
Kalendars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. remarked to have dwelt then, in the country 
_ in the Irish Life of St. Brigid, belong- of Theba, near Meath, and that the author 
>sor O Looney, we are told in- of her Fourth Life must have lived at a re 
ad, that there were four diseased per- mote period, the Irish having been commonly 
5 in the house, viz., a man in a decline, called Scots, in his time. See " Trias Thau- 
a maniac, a blind man and a leper," pp. 23, maturga." Quarta Vita S. Brigidre, n. 18, 

"v- Th Jf miracle is also ^corded in the -This miracle is also related, in the 

vita Sexta S Bngidse," sec. xix., p. 585. Quinta Vita S. Brigidse, cap. xlix., p. 579. 

bee Trias Thaumaturga." There, how- See " Trias Thaumaturga." 

rer, it is stated, in addition, that the other * So called in the Fourth Life of our 

three afflicted persons were healed by St. saint. In the Third Life, they are named 

t i ^ i u a ,r r P ra > ln S her to interpose on Mel and Melchu. 

their behalf , - i. , , , , , , 

62 p , . ,. . " rrobably i reagnmhagh. a transposed 

<;r R , ? th S mcident "The Life of form of the name .Magh- Breach, a famous 

dH,^r?-}f^c ries v callshim " a i )iain in East Mcath - See " The T P- 

Uea 3 ai d (lumb child. See chap, iv., p. 44. graphical Poems of |ohn O Dubhajjain and 

relnti n P^f ,>me what differently Giolla na naomh O Huidhrm." Edited by 

ssor O Looney s Irish Life of John O Donovan, LL.D., p. xv., n. 63. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 75 



permission to accompany the saints, that he might minister to their wants on 
the journey; but, the bishops would not consent, lest their travelling might 
be impeded by the number of beasts and the amount of baggage. Then, St. 
Brigid said to the bishops ; " Proceed you before us, I shall remain, and 
assist those people." 

The bishops obeyed her, and the saint, remaining with the cleric s family, 
asked why they did not put their baggage in the waggons. She was informed 
that two infirm persons, a paralytic man, and a blind woman, occupied them. 
The fellow-travellers of Brigid refreshed themselves and slept for the night, 
while she fasted and kept vigil. On the following morning, this spouse of 
Christ blessed some water. C 9 Touring it on the paralytic and on the blind 
woman, both were restored; one to the use of his limbs, the other to her 
eyesight. Then, according to our saint s orders, their baggage was placed 
in the waggons, while prosecuting their journey and giving unfeigned thanks 
to God. With their permission and blessing, our saint and her companions 
parted company, in order to hasten progress. 

On seeing a certain rustic greatly concerned regarding his cattle, and 
being near the house in which our saint lived, Brigid told her nuns to enquire 
about the cause of his grief ; when he replied, that his whole family, consist 
ing of twelve persons, lay sick at home, and there was no woman found to 
milk his cows. Our saint told her nuns to perform tin s kindly office. 
Having complied with her order, the religious sisters were invited by 
that man to partake of some refreshment. Witli this request they com 
plied, while their holy abbess fasted. All having dined, the saint of God 
blessed some water, with which she sprinkled the house and its sick in 
mates. The holy virgin s presence and her ministrations restored all those 
infirm persons to health. Then they gave thanks to God, and invoked bless 
ings on his glorious servant. Subsequently, in a direct course, St. Brigid and her 
companions" proceed to a place called Tailten,? 1 where St. Patrick, with an 
assembly of holy bishops and saints, held a council.? 2 Brigid was received 
by the assembly with becoming honour. 73 Here she is related to have vin 
dicated the character of Bishop Broil 4 in a miraculous manner.? 3 Tailten 
has been identified? 6 with the modern Telltown,?? a parish^ in the barony of 

^ Thus the circumstance is related, in St. Patrick, the Apo.-,; e of Ireland, as her 

her Fourth Life. In the Third, it is said, father, and that, in turn, lie adopted her as 

our saint used the "morning dew," as tiui- his daughter, it is al-o said, that for the 

terics for their restoration. first time, these two great saints saw each 

7 According to Professor O Looney s other there ; and from this date forward, 

Irish Life of St. Brigid, one of these was common consent allowed St. I .rigid to be 

Bishop Mel, pp. 25, 20. Melchu is also the greatest of all the Irish saints, after St. 

named as one of them in "The Life of St. Patrick. 

Brigid," by an Irish Priest, when alluding to ? 4 See his acts at the 8th of June, 

this narrative. See chap, iv., pp. 46 to 73 See the Lections of St. Brigid s Office 

48. in the Breviary of Aberdeen. Bishop Forbes 

This place was situated in the northern " Kalcndars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. 
part of Meath. In ancient times, it was ? J John O Donovan has given an account 

greatly celebrated. See Colgan s "Trias of ancient Tailten which he identifies with 

Thaumaturga." Vita Quarta S. Brigklcc, ! ! ->wn in letters, dated Keannanus, 

n. 19, p. 564. .../ i2th, July 1 3th, July I4th, 1836, pp. 

7- It is called a " Convocation of the men 6 to 16, in "Letters containing Informa- 

of Erin at Tailtin," and "the Synod of lion relative to the Antiquities of the County 

Erin," in Professor O Looney s Irish Life of of Mcath, collected during the Progress of 

the saint, pp. -25, 26. A very interesting the Ordnance Survey in 1836." 
description of Telltown, identified with Tail- " A townland of 626 acres so called con- 

tean, is given in Sir William Robert Wilde s tains a remarkable eminence called UAch 

"Beauties of the Boyne and its Tributary the t)ubh or Black Rath. It is about sixty 

Blackwater," chap, vi., pp. 149 to 154. perches northward from the Blackwater 

73 In the Fourth Life of our saint, we are liiver. 
told, on this occasion, St. Brigid received ?8 It is also called Killalton Parish. 



76 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Upper Kells, county of Meath. ?? Yet, another opinion has been advanced 
with much ability, 80 that the remains of the celebrated Royal Cemeteries of 
Tailltin should be sought for on the Lough Crew Hills, 81 at Oldcastle, in the 
same county. 82 Here an annual meeting of the people, called in Irish 
Oenach. " a fair," had been held in ancient times, on " the fair-hilled Taill- 
ten," which seems a term inapplicable to Telltown, which lies in a low situa 
tion, and which is singularly destitute of hills. It is probable, St. Patrick 
took advantage of the popular gathering there to hold a synod or to give a 
public mission. It is said, the fair was held with great pomp, 8 3 and that it 
was celebrated for national games, which commenced on the ist of August 
each year, although occasionally interrupted or prevented, owing to 
civil discords or to other causes. When the day, on which the foregoing 
occurrence took place, drew to a close, on seeing the miracles which 
our saint wrought, a certain man asked her to visit, with her virgins, a 
house lately built, and which he wished should be consecrated by her pre 
sence. She went according to his request, and was received by her host, in 
a hospitable and respectful manner. When food had been placed before the 
nuns for their refreshment, Brigid said to her sisters, with a prophetic spirit ; 
" The Lord hath now shown me, that this man is a Gentile, and as he will 
not be baptized, we should not partake of his meats." One of her nuns re 
plied : " You speak truth, for I have heard, that of all others, he hath most 
resisted St. Patrick s preaching and hath refused to receive baptism." St. 
Brigid then told her host, that they could not eat with him until he had been 
first baptized. Immediately afterwards, the Lord touched this man s heart 
with compunction for his sins, and he believed, together with his whole family. 
Bishop Bron, St. Patrick s disciple, who accompanied our saint, administered 
the baptismal rite. On being informed about these circumstances the follow 
ing day, St. Patrick told the holy virgin, that henceforth she should not 
journey, 8 * without having a priest to accompany her. 8 5 Then, the illustrious 
bishop ordained a priest, named Natfroich, 86 who during the whole course of 



79 See Lewis ^Topographical Dictionary The same writer proposes to publish a very 

of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 600. valuable contribution to our ancient history 

See some admirable investigations, re- and antiquities, intituled, " Taillten and 

latiye to this matter, which were presented Brugh : in the County of Meath : being an 

by Eugene Alfred Conwell, M.R.I.A., in a account of the present condition of two of 

series of communications to the Royal Irish the Royal Cemeteries of Ireland in Pagan 

Academy on the 23rd of May, and on the Times." Illustrations, from correct clraw- 

li J" ISovember > l8 645 as also on the ings, are designed for this work. 

: February, 1866, and on the I2th of ^ Here "games similar to the Olympian 

February, 1872. These were published in are described to have been held for 15 days 

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy," before, and 15 days after, the 1st of August, 

vol. ix. l<irst series, pp. 355 c t sey., and and the time appointed for this grand festival 

vol. i second series, pp. 72 el sey. was also that commonly chosen for giving 

1 he pre-histonc monuments here were young people in marriage." Thomas Crom- 

A r St r> TA V ty Eugene Alfred Conwell, well s < Excursions through Ireland," vol. ii., 

M.K.i.A., on Tuesday, the 9 th of June, p. 125. London, 1820, 8vo. 

Ib6 3 See Proceedings of the Royal Irish ^ See "Life of St. Brigid," by an Irish 

Academy, vol. ix., p. 356. " Examination Priest," chap, iv., p. 48. 

of the Ancient Sepulchral Cairns on the *> In the Irish Life of St. Brigid, belong- 

Loughcrew Hills County of Meath." ing to Professor O Looncy, the foregoing 

Mr. Conwell has issued in book form, occurrences are noticed. We are informed, 

hmbvo an interesting account of this loca- moreover, that St. Patrick s injunction to 

Tomh nfn1 S 1 m T i I Dis ; covcr y of the St - Brigid " caused Natfraech to take Holy 

Tomb of OllAmh proliU (Ollav fola), Orders," pp. 25, 26. 

l S f m S M ardl 3 , nd L - M * k er 6 This priest was afterwards numbered 

T b^n T?^ T? Thousand Ycars A 5>" among our national saints, and according to 

?, ,? contoins several interest- Marianus O Gorman and the Martyrology of 

strations, pertinent to the subject. Donegal, he was venerated on the nth of 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 77 

her life attended St. Brigid, in quality of guardian, while on her travels. 8 ? 
Having taken leave of St. Patrick, the holy abbess returned to her nunnery. 
About this time, also, a certain man 33 came to the saint, and bore his mother, 
a. paralytic, on his shoulders. When he had arrived in our saint s presence, 
placing his mother on the ground, under the holy virgin s shadow, 8 ; no sooner 
had the infirm woman been set in this position, than she arose and cried 
out : " I give thanks to (]od, because the moment I touched your shadow, 
O saint, I was healed, and felt no more pain/ Then audible exclamations 
of praise to the Almighty issued from the lips of all present.^ 

After some interval of time, a certain demoniac, bound with strong chains, 
was about being brought to St. Brigid ; but, on learning to whom he was 
being conducted, he cast himself on the ground and persistently declared, 
they should never bring him to her. The conductors told him, that he 
neither knew where Brigid was, nor the purpose they had in view ; still, he 
replied, lie well knew their object, and the place where our saint dwelt, 
which he named. Finding they could not move him from the spot where 
he lay, his guardians were of opinion, that a message should be sent to 
Brigid, requesting her to visit him there in Christ s name. The holy virgin 
assented to their request; and, on her approach, a demon lied from that 
man, whilst as yet she was at some distance. This was a marked privilege 
our saint possessed, for she caused devils to fear and to lly her approach, 
wheresoever she came. On the instant, this man s reason returned, and he 
gave thanks to 



CHAPTER V. 

AT ST. LASARA S CONVENT ST. I;RK;II> WORKS MIRACLES HKR EXCURSION TO MUN- 
STER WITH lilSIK)! KKP THE IloI.Y A1U:ESS VISITS CONNAI GHT HER LABOURS 
AM) ATSTEKITIES WHILE THERE THE I EOl LE OF LEINSTER REQUEST HER TO 
KETURN SHE COMPLIES, AND RE-CKOSSES THE SHANNON SHE RESOLVES ON 

BUILDING HER GREAT ESTABLISHMENT AT KILDARE. 

WHILE some legendary writers of the illustrious saint s acts intersperse them 
with fantastic recitals, others recount the daily wonders of her life, and the 
benefits her charitable solicitude everywhere spread around in providing, 
not only for the wants of the clergy and religious with whom she associated, 
but even for those of the poor and humble. 1 At a certain time, Brigid, with 
her companions, was entertained by a St Lasara or Lasrea, at the church of 
this latter virgin. It has been conjectured she was the daughter of Ferguss, 2 



December. An Irish Life of our saint, in ? The foregoing miracles are copied, with 

Colgans possession, mentions him in the little variation, from the Third and Fourth 

fourteenth chapter. See "Trias Thauma- Lives of St. Brigid. See Colgan s "Trias 

turga. Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, n. 20, p. Thaumaturga." Vita Tertia S. Brigidce, 

543- cap. xxxii., xxxiii., xxxiv., xxxv., xxxvi., 

t 7 See L. Tachet de Barneval s " Ilistoire xxxvii., xxxviii., xxxix., xl., xli., xlii., xliii., 

Legendaire del Irlande," chap, ix., p. 87. pp, 530, 531. Vita Quarta S. BrigidiB, lib. 

He is said to have been from Northern L, cap. xxxiv., xxxv., xxxvi., xxxvii., xxxviii., 

Bregiain Professor O Looney s Manuscript xxxix., xl., xli., xlii., xliii., xliv., xlv., pp. 

547, 548, 549. In many, if not in most, of 

9 In the Irish Life of St. Brigid, Pro- these chapters, one life seems to be almost 

lessor O Looney renders this passage "the a verbal copy or transcript of the other, 

shelter of Brigid," pp. 25, 26. CHAP, v. See L. Tachet de Barneval s 

9 See " Vita Sexta S. Brigidse," section " Historic Legendaire de 1 Irlande," chap, 

xvi., p. 585, ibid. t for an account of the fore- viii., p. 82. 

g^ing miracle. = The Martyrologies of Marianus Gorman, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



son to Fcthlemid, son to King Leogaire.s This identification, however, is 
not well ascertained.* Her place is called Kill-Laisre,s or " Laisre s 
Church ;" 6 although it is difficult to identify the foundress,? among the many 
recurring and similar names inscribed on our calendars. 8 While resting at this 
retreat, on the evening of a particular day, accompanied by a great multitude, 
St. Patrick, it is said, came to demand hospitality. Then, the nuns of St. 
Laisre s church,? being concerned about the poor provision made in that 
place for entertaining such a number of persons, manifested their inquietude 
to St. Brigid. She enquired, what store they possessed. Being told, they 
had only twelve loaves, an egg, and a little milk, 10 which were prepared for 
herself and her sisters, our holy abbess replied, that these should prove 
sufficient for a great number of persons, through God s bounty. She then 
required the Sacred Scriptures to be read, so that their corporal necessities 
might presently be forgotten. St. Brigid and St. Patrick afterwards partook 
of some food, which had been prepared. The quantity of provisions greatly 
increased, even when their repast concluded. St. Lasrea then offered her 
place to God and to St. Brigid, for ever. 11 This account seems to indicate, 
that previously, it had been a convent and not subject to her jurisdiction. 

Our Divine Redeemer proclaimed, " Blessed are the peace-makers, for 
they shall be called the children of God." 12 While holy Brigid remained at 
the nunnery of St. Lasara, a certain man, whose wife bore him some un 
accountable aversion, came to the virgin. He entreated, that she should 
employ her pious offices for the restoration of a connubial love, which ought 
to exist between himself and his companion. Then, Christ s holy spouse, 
blessing some water, ordered the man to sprinkle his house with it, in God s 
name.^ This order he obeyed. During the absence of his wife, food and 
drink, with his bed, were aspersed by him. When she returned home, 14 her 



Tallagh, and Cathal Maguire treat concern 
ing her at the iSth of February, and at the 
29th of March, in the opinion of Colgan. 
See "Trias Thaumaturga," n. 21, p. 543. 

3 About the year 520, his great-grand 
daughter, St. Lasre, nourished, on the 
borders of Meath and Leinster. .She was 
a disciple to St. Finnian of Clonard, as may 
be seen in the twenty-second chapter of his 
life, and also in the sixteenth chapter of the 
Life of St. Kieran of Clomnacnoise. 

4 The Abbate I). Giacomo Certain as 
sumes it as established, in his work, "La 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libra Quarto, p. 265. For the 
use of this very rare work, the writer is in 
debted to its learned and courteous owner, 
Jasper Robert Joly, LL.D., 38 Rathmines, 
Dublin. 

5 In an Irish life of our saint, at chapter 
xxviii. 

6 In Latin " Cella S. Lassarre." 

i The time and place are thought by Col 
gan to favour such identity. 

8 There are at least fifteen or sixteen holy 
virgins, called Lassara, Las-sar or Lasrea, in 
our Irish msenologies. Marianus Gorman, 
the Martyrologies of Tallagh, of Cathal Ma- 
guire, and of Donegal, name them at the 
dates of their respective festivals, which are 
enumerated at the 6th of January, where the 



first of these occurs. 

9 There are many churches bearing such a 
name in Ireland. One of these was in Ulster, 
during Colgan s time. It was a parish church 
of Clogher diocese, and situated on the banks 
of a lake called Lochmacnen. Allusion has 
been made to it, in the notices of St. Lassar 
of Achadh-foda. There was another in the 
diocese of Lismore, in Minister. A third 
was in Elphin diocese, in the territory Oirecht 
Hymainnin ; while, a fourth was in the dio 
cese of Achonry, and within the territory of 
Lugny : both these latter being in the pro 
vince of Connaught. But, from circumstances 
of this relation and place, none of the afore 
mentioned churches seem to be here alluded 
to. 

10 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, "a sheep" is added to these 
resources, pp . 25, 26. 

11 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidre, lib. i., cap. xlvi., 
p. 549. Vita Tertia S. Brigida;, cap. xliv., 
p. 531. Ibid. 

l - St. Matt, v., 9. 

13 In his usual erudite and fanciful manner, 
Abbate D. Giacomo Certani has amplified 
his narrative of this incident. See "La 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libro Quarto, pp. 269 to 272. 

14 This was at Killassair, according to 



LTFE OF ST. URIGID. 



79 



heart filled with affection towards her husband, while their mutual harmony 
and love continued so long as they lived. 1 ? At this time, also, St. Brigid 
was visited by a certain virgin, descended from the race of Guais or Guas- 
sius. 16 Their district was in Meuth, where they were known as the Hi Mac 
Huais. 1 ? This virgin sought alms from every house in the kingdom. 
Brigid said to her: " I will give you either my cloak, or a heifer lately pre 
sented to me. 18 The religious told our saint, that neither of these gifts 
could profit her, for way-s j -robbers might deprive her of them. Brigid 
then asked her visitor, if she would receive a girdle, worn by herself, and 
which should heal several kinds of diseases, prevailing in that part of the 
country, provided this /one were immersed in water, \he name of Christ 
being also invoked. The virgin 1 : received this gift from our saint very 
thankfully. Taking the girdle, she first went to a certain boy, who was sick, 
and who was greatly beloved by his parents. The Almighty was pleased to 
restore him to health, through the instrumentality of this Brigidine relic. 20 
That virgin in like manner was enabled to heal many, who were sick, so 
long as she lived.- According to St. Brigid s prediction, she even received 
several presents in return for such services. With the gifts thus acquired, 
she bought lands, giving all the wealth she possessed to the poor. While 
living a chaste and holy life, she became a distinguished saint.- 2 Her name, 
however, does not appear to have been recorded. 

Another time, St. Brigid went into the district of Feara Ross. 3 3 Having 
been requested by some persons, the Abbess visited a king, living in the plain 
ot Breagh, 2 -* that she might obtain a certain man s liberation. This person 
had been held as a prisoner by the dynast. Our holy virgin promised a 



Professor O Looney s TrMi Life of Si. B:i-id. 
An additional incident is added to prove the 
affection, which the wife evinced lor her 
husband, pp. 27, 28. 

15 This miraculous renewal of affection be* 
twecn the panics is related in the sixth 
metrical life of our saint, with some addi 
tional particulars. The following line con 
cludes this narrative : 

" Virgin!-; o;> meritum Christus firmavit 

arnorem." 

Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Sexta 
Vita S. Brigid;v, sec. \1., p. 590. 

_ 6 Thus found in the 1 hird aiv! Fourth 
Lives of our saint. In a note thereon, (lost- 
fixed to the Third Life, Colgan writes an 
emendation, that in the Irish idiom this 
family should he named the Mac-Huais. 
This tribe s name they took from an old and 
respectable stock, descended from Colla 
Huasius, who is numbered among the Irish 
kings. See "Trias Thaumaturga," n. 22, 
P- 543- 

17 The Abbate D. Giacomo Certani has it 
"Ella era d vna Regione della .Media, che 
allora chiamausi Nac-Hunis, et oggidi vieii 
delta Hi Machunis." " La Santha 1 rodi- 
giosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese," libro 
quarto, p. 272. 

18 This narrative is somewhat differently 
presented in the Lections taken from the 
Breviary of Aberdeen. See Bishop Forbes 
"Kalendars of Scottish Saints," p. 289. 



- I iiis person is said to have been in great 
misery, belore St. Brigid be-towed on her 
the gilt. I rofe-sor O Looney s Irish Life 
of St. lirigid, pp. 27, 2S. 

- This same miracle seems the one alluded 
to, in the metrical life of our saint ; but, in 
this life, it is said, that a poor man was the 
recipient of St. Brigid s gin lie. 

- It is stated, in the Sixth Life, that by 
means of this girdle, many miracles, in 
favour of the sick and nllhcted, had been 
wrought, throughout the districts around 
Kildare. 1 he>e miracles are said to have 
been continued, after it had been brought to 
the recipient s country. See Sexta Vita S. 
Brigida , sec. xxv., pp. 586, 587. 

- See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 
VitaTertia S. Brigida?, cap. xlv., xlvi., and 
Quarta Vita S. Brigida; lib. i., cap. xlvii., 
xlviii., pp. 531, 549. 

- \\ Inch means "the men of Ross. " Pro 
fessor O Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, 
pp. 29, 30. This was a tribe and territory, 
comprising the country around Carrickma- 
cro.ss, in the County of Monaghan, and a 
part of Louth County. See "Three Frag 
ments, Copied from Ancient Sources, by 
Dubhaltach Mac Firbisigh," edited with a 
translation and notes, by John O Donovan 
LL.D., p. 72, n. (b.) 

-* Otherwise, Breaghmhagh, or Bregia, 
the great plain of Meath, in which Tara is 
situated. See " The Irish Version of the 
Historia Britonum of Nennius," edited with 



go LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 

ransom to him for that captive. But the king would not consent to release 
his prisoner. 25 He even vowed, this man should be put to death on the 
same day ; and the utmost concession, our saint could obtain, was a delay of 
execution, until the ensuing night. Accompanied by the kindred and friends 
of that captive, Brigid went at night to the place where he was confined ; 
and while her companions slept, she alone remained awake. The dynast s 
friends said to him : " Unless, O king, thy captive be put to death, during 
this night, no person can deprive him of life on to-morrow, for St. Brigid 
will liberate him. We have held a council amongst ourselves, resolving to 
take him away by violence, and to kill him, independently of your wishes. 
This course, we trust, will serve to your being considered inculpable." But 
the holy virgin was miraculously admonished, regarding this plot. During 
the first night-watch, a vision appeared to the chained man. He saw Brigid 
standing near him, and he heard her pronounce these words : " Behold, evil 
men are intent on killing thee this night, but when thou art dragged to 
death, thou shalt often call on me by name. And when the chain shall have 
been removed from thy neck, that they may proceed to murder thee, slip 
away from thy executioners, on the right side, and thou wilt safely escape 
from them to your friends." After this announcement, and while the captive 
remained awake, his executioners came. Removing him without the door 
of the king s castle, they unbound that chain which confined him. We are 
told, this man immediately escaped from their hands, and without molesta 
tion, he came to St. Brigid ; his enemies, meantime, thinking they had killed 
him and had cut off his head. On the following day, however, neither his 
head nor body could be seen, and this man s enemies were astonished at the 
result of their search. In the early part of that same day, Brigid sent a 
messenger to the king, with a true account concerning the transaction. 
Hearing this, the dynast repented of his evil intentions, and dismissed all 
inimical thoughts towards the man, on account of that veneration he enter 
tained for holy Brigid. 26 

One of the holy men, who had been distinguished owing to his virtues in 
St.Brigid s time, was Bishop Ere or Ercus of Slane. 2 ? He was an early 
convert and a disciple of St. Patrick. 23 This Bishop Erc s immediate progeni 
tors and family lived in Minister ; although, he descended from Fergus 
Rogius, 2 9 and the royal line of Ulster kings.s His hermitage was at Slane^ 1 



a translation and notes by Dr. James Hen- provinces of Ireland, viz., in Ulster, Con- 
thorn Todd and by the lion. Algernon naught, and Minister. 
Herbert, p. 124, n. (q.) so From this line descended St. Brendan 

25 The account is more fully given in Ab- of Birr, St. Caiman, St. Leathan, St. Ere, 
bate D. Giacomo Certani s "La Santita bishop, and the holy sisters Criada, Derusia, 
Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese," and Sincha, daughters of Ernan. According 
libro quinto, pp. 354 to 359. to the " Sanctilogic Genealogy," chap. 30, 

26 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " these were near relatives o( St. Brendan. 
Vita Quarta S. Brigida;, lib. ii., cap. xxxix., In this old record, the several holy persons 
p. 556. Also, Vita Tcrtia S. Brigida;, cap. enumerated are derived from their common 
Ixviii., p. 535. Ibid, progenitor, Corb. See "Trias Thauma- 

2 ? His festival occurs at the 2nd of No- turga. " Vita Tertia S. Brigida;, nn. 42, 43, 

vember. p. 544. 

28 In addition to this, D. Giacomo Certain 31 In the " Diocese of Meath, Ancient and 
makes him, absurdly enough, a Canon Re- Modem," vol. i., chap, xxxix., p. 297, the 
gular of St. Augustine. See "La Santita Rev. Anthony Cogan writes in sympathy 
Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese, " with his subject. The Rev. Mervyn Arch- 
libro quinto, p. 362. dall, Protestant Rector of Slane, the distin- 

29 His son was Corb, surnamed Ulom. guished author of the JMonasticon Hibernicum. 
Eight sons of this Ferguss, with their pos- and of the Peerage of Ireland, is buried in 
terity, held large tracts of land, in different the Protestant churchyard of Slane. He 



LIFE 01 ST. J3R1GID. 



81 



on the banks of the Boyne, and it stood in a most charming local \ty.v Here 
too, at the present time, may be seen some most interesting relics of our 




Franciscan Abbey Ruins, at Slanc. 
ancestors piety. x Beside that romantically situated cell of the holy man, 



was an indefatigable compiler, and to his 
valuable labours we are all indebted for much 
interesting information. Over his remains 
a monument has been erected, with the fol 
lowing inscription : 

We shall also bear the image of the 
Heavenly. 

Sacred to the .Memory 

of 
MERVVN- ARCIMIM.L, A.M., 

Rector ( ,f tlij, I .n-ish, 
Who uied the Oth August, 

179 . 
Aged oS years." 

*- A very interesting history and descrip 
tion of Slane M) associate 1 with early and 
closing scenes of the amiable and learned 
writer s life will be found in the Rev. 
Anthony Cogan s " Diocese ol Meath, An 
cient and Modern," vol. i., chan. ix., pp. 
58 to 64, and chap, xxxix., pp. 283 to 297. 
The lamented deceased was a native of Slane, 
where he was born in the year 1826. He 
was ordained a priest A.D. 1850. As a 
lecturer and pulpit orator, he was highly 
distinguished. By the admirable work he 
published in three octavo volumes, an in 
calculable service was rendered to the dio 
cese of Meath. Attached as dean to the 



Diocesan Seminary of Xavan, he won all 
hearts by his goodness and gentleness. His 
collegiate duties were faithiully discharged ; 
while his literary labours were of a peculiarly 
arduous nature, and must, no doubt, have 
greatly ten led to undermine his constitution, 
in his preface to the fir-t volume the author 
says; "I went troni churchyard to church 
yard, taking the dimensions of the existing 
ruins, deciphering the t >mbs of priests, tran- 
scnbing the inscriptions on the pedestals of 
ol 1 chalices searching the registers, gather 
ing old documents an I letters of the deceased 
pa.stors, examining the lists ol subscribers 
catalogued in old books, visiting the old 
crosses and the holy wells, and taking notes 
o! every surviving memorial of the faiih and 
piety ol the people," p. viii. In declining 
health, " It is strange," he often observed 
to his friends, " I believe that 1 had a voca 
tion to wire this work, and I should not be 
surprised if God would call me soon, since I 
have finished my labours." He departed 
this life on Saturday, January 28th. 1872, 
at Slane, with his relatives so dearly loved 
by his bedside, at the comparatively early 
age of 46. He was buried on the following 
Monday, in the Parish Church of Slane, 
where a handsome public monument has 
been erected to commemorate his worth and 
services. 

33 The accompanying engraving, by Mrs. 




8 2 LIFE OP ST. BRIGID. 



yet visited by so many pilgrims of taste, who delight to wander along the wind 
ing waters of the Boyne, some towering and extensive abbey ruins34 crown a 
magnificent height, which presents a vast view over one of the most lovely 
landscapes in lreland.35 A fine, lofty, and nearly perfect abbey-tower 
dominates over the deserted and ruinous cloisters beside it.s 6 A much 
frequented graveyard surrounds the ruined Franciscan monastery, that had 
been founded here A.D. 1512.37 The pious and noble Flemings 38 pile of build 
ings was soon diverted to secular purposes, while the church and monastic 
portions gradually fell into decay, It is said, that several fragments of St. 
Erc s ancient hermitage and some ornamental details were taken from the 
older ruin, and inserted in the more modern erection. 

With blessed Krc, the great St. Brigid was specially intimate and bound 
by ties of holy friendship. This appears from her Acts, and it is supposed,^ 
that about the year 484, she was his travelling companion to his native pro 
vince/ Such tour of the holy abbess possibly preceded one she made to 
Connaught ; 41 although, indeed, this matter has not been very clearly estab 
lished/ 2 St. Brigid entertained a great inclination to see certain consecrated 
places and holy persons in Minister ; but, according to another account, her 
visit there was induced, through a desire to accompany St. Ere on a visit 
towards that country, where his relatives lived.-*3 One day, while prosecuting 
their journey, St. Brigid said to the bishop, " O venerable father, point out 
to me the quarter of Minister, in which your family resides." When the 
bishop had complied with her request, the holy virgin exclaimed in continua 
tion, " At present, a war is there waging, between your tribe and another 
clan." The bishop replied to her : " O holy mother, I believe what thou 
hast told me is true, for when I last left them to see you, they were in a 
state of discord." Then Brigid cried out, " O Father, your people are now 
routed." One of St. Erc s disciples, 44 hereupon, thoughtlessly remarked to 



Millard, Dublin, from a drawing made on 39 By Dr. Lanigan. 

the spot, represents the ruins of the Fran- 4 Whether this or the Connaught journey 

ciscan monastery at Slane. took place, before or after the foundation of 

34 At Slane, it is said, Dagobert, King of her nunnery at Kildare, seems uncertain. 
Austrasia, took refuge, when he was ban- Perhaps, she made more journeys than one 
ished into Ireland, by Grimoald, Mayor of to either province, for she appears to have 
the Palace, at the age of seven years, and been an indefatigable traveller on her holy 
A.D. 653. missions, like the great Apostle St. Patrick. 

3 5 Canons Regular of St. Augustine have 4I See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His- 
been placed here by Harris, and St. Patrick tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, via., sec. x., 
is called the founder in the sixth century. n. 116, p. 407. 

See Harris Ware, vol. ii., " Antiquities of 42 In "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

Ireland," chap, xxxviii., p. 264. But, Sir Irish Priest, he gives precedence to the holy 

James Ware more sensibly states, that woman s Munster visit, in the order of nar- 

Christopher Fleming, Baron of Slane, and rative. See chap, iv., v., pp. 50 to 56. 

his wife, Elizabeth Stukely, were the foun- Some of her Latin Acts seem to reverse this 

ders. In the charter of its foundation, it is arrangement. Abbate D. Giacomo Certani 

stated, to have been "in loco Hermitorii no great historical authority, however 

S. Erci." See " De Hibernia et Antiqui- places the Connaught journey after the 

tatibus ejus," cap. xxvi., pp. 167, 168. Munster one. See " La Santita Prodigiosa. 

36 A very inexact engraving of this ivy- Vita cli S. Brigida Ibernese," libro quinto, 
shrouded object is presented in the "Dublin pp. 362 to 404. See also p. 408, et seq. 
Penny Journal," vol. ii., No. 102, p. 393. 43 See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His- 

37 See Archdall s " Monasticon Hiberni- tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. iv., 
cum," pp. 572, 573. p. 389. 

38 See some account of them in Rev. C. 44 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
P. Median s " Rise and Fall of the Irish St. Brigid he is called a clerical student, 
Franciscan Monasteries and Memoirs of the while it is stated St. Brigid and Bishop Ere 
Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century," were in Leinster, at the time of this occur- 
chap, iii., pp. 144 to 156. rence, pp. 41, 42. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 83 

the holy abbess, " How are you able to see the fight at such a distance ?" 
The bishop reproved this incredulity for his not recognising the Holy Spirit s 
illuminating gifts conferred on a virgin, who was blessed both in soul and 
body. Then said Ere to our saint : " O servant of God, sign our eyes that 
we may witness those things thou seest." The spouse of Christ immediately 
complied with this icquest, so that they clearly observed the battle s progress. 
Looking on, in great grief, his disciple cried out to Bishop Ere : "Alas! 
also, my Lord, at this moment, my eyes behold the decapitation of two 
brothers. The result of enquiry established the reality this vision detailed.^ 
Afterwards, in a certain place, and near a mountain, the holy Bishop Erc< 6 
and the sanctified virgin Bngid sat down, with their attendants. These 
were greatly fatigued after their journey, and they experienced great hunger. 
A youth in their company thereupon remarked, that whoever gave them 
food should confer a great charity on them. St. Brigid then said, " I pre 
dict, that if food and drink be required, you must wait awhile in expectation 
of assistance from on high; because, 1 behold a house, in which they are 
to-day preparing alms for a certain church. Within an hour it shall come 
here, and even now it is put up for us in packages." While our saint was 
speaking, refreshment carriers arrived, and when they had learned the illustrious 
Bngid and holy Bishop Ere, with their disciples, were there, those bearers 
greatly rejoiced to relieve their wants. Alms were presented to the famished 
travellers, with such words : " Receive those refreshments, which God Him 
self hath intended for you, as your wants and merits should be taken into 
consideration, before those of any other congregation. Giving God thanks, 
our travellers partook of this food presented ; yet, as they only received 
edibles, some drink was required, likewise, to allay their thirst. Then 
Bngid told them to dig the earth near this spot."? On obeying her order, a. 
spring of clear water issued from the ground. Afterwards, it bore the name 
of St. Brigid s well, and it might be seen at the time our virgin s Third and 
Fourth Lives had been written. < 8 

The holy travellers subsequently visited Magh-Femyn,^ at a time when 
a great Synod of Saints was there assembled.5 They were obliged to re 
main at that synod. 5 The holy Bishop Ere gave an account of those 
miracles wrought by our saint, while he was assisting at this council.^ The 
neighbouring inhabitants, hearing that Brigid was there, brought many 
infirm persons to her, that she might heal them. Among these were in 
cluded some lame, leprous, and demented persons." Such fortunate patients 

4 5Abbatc D. Giacomo Certani has a la- 544. 

boured account of the foregoing incidents. s j \Vc appear to have no other historical 

Sec La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. notices regarding this synod preserved. It 

iJngida Ibernese, libro quinto, pp. 362 to does not occur in the List of Councils, con 
tained in Sir Harris Nicolas "Chronology 

In the Third L ( fe of St. Brigid, the of History," pp. 21210269. 

Bronus Episcopus " are introduced ^ See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

isly, as is evident Irom the context. Irish Priest, chap, iv., p. 51. 

See D. Giacomo Certani s " La Samita ^ Near Fethart, in the county of Tipper- 

Proctigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese," ary, there is a Kilbride ; but, it is not known 

libro quinto, pp. 368, 369. to have been erected by St. Brigid, or to 

See Colgans "Tnas Thaumaturga." indicate the site of any residence, which 

Vita Cjuarta S. BnguU-, lib. ii., cap. xlii., had ever any connexion witli her, and which 

>}i- PP. 550.557- Also, Vita Tertia S. existed in the neighbourhood. See Dr. 

BngKhe-, cap. Ixxi., pp. 535, 536. Ibid. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical History of Ire- 

Jtherwise, Magh-Femhin, or "the land," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. iv., and nn. 

plain of I-emhin, winch is a celebrated and 51, 52, pp. 389, 390. 

extensive level in the territory ol the Decies ^ s ee < La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 

SeeColgan s " Trias Thauma- S. Brigida Ibernese," libro quinto, pp. 369 

turga." Vita Tertia S. Brigid*, n 45, p. to 373. 



S 4 LTFE OF ST. BRIGID. 

were released from their several afflictions, through Divine assistance, and 
the prayers of our merciful saint. 5 -* 

After this, Brigid went to a place, adjoining the sea, and at no great distance 
from that house in which Bishop Ere then dwelt. 55 Here she remained for 
a long time, with her companions. 56 An anchoret lived not far from them. 
He was a most devout and perfect man. Wishing to avoid all female 
society, he sought a desert place for his habitation, and directed his course 
to an island. 3 ? " While on his way thither, he came near a cell, in which 
St. Brigid lodged. The disciples of the anchoret said to him : " O Father, 
let us visit holy Brigid, that she may bless us." The anchoret replied: 
" My children, you know already my vow to visit no woman/ 5 Then 
continuing their course, they recollected, in the evening when they had 
reached a hospice, that some of their luggage had been left behind. It was 
generally supposed, this loss of their effects occurred, through their neglect 
of visiting our saint to receive her blessing, and they resolved to fast that 
night, in atonement for their fault. After these religious men had taken 
their departure, St. Brigid was inspired to address the following words to her 
nuns : " Go and bring hither the property of God s servants, and which has 
been left behind on the road near to us." On the following morning, the 
monks went back to Brigid, and found their effects in her safe keeping. 
The holy anchoret and his disciples remained three days and as many nights, 
near to where she lived. All offered joint prayers to Heaven. God s holy 
word 5 ? was preached, likewise, during this visit. 

Those devout men afterwards prosecuted their course, and St. Brigid 
complied with their wishes, by accompanying them one day s journey. Our 
pious virgin had compassion on those disciples of the anchoret, for she saw 
their burdens were too heavy. Beholding two horses descend towards her 
from a neighbouring mountain, she ordered their baggage to be placed on 
these animals. When the end of that day s journey had been accomplished, 
Brigid wished the return of those horses to their owners. Her desire was 
accomplished. aUhough none of the company knew whence they came, or to 
whom they belonged. Parting with those religious men, St. Brigid bestowed 
her benediction on them. Afterwards, she returned towards her cell. 
When that anchoret came to the island of his selection, a man who had 
previous possession entered it, with his wife, sons, daughters, and servants. 60 



s* Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." Vita sihle conjecture, that it might have been a 

Quarta S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. xliv., p. St. Killian, whose festival occurs on the 3rd 

557. Also, Vita Tenia S. Bngida:, cap. of March, and who dwelt in the island of 

Ixxii., p. 536. Ibid. Inisdoimle, within the bounds of Minister. 

55Dr Lanigan says the place is now known Perhaps it was St. Barrindus, or Bairrfinn, 

as Kilbride, near Tramore, Waterfonl who is venerated on the 3Oth of January, in 

County. See "Ecclesiastical History of the same place. See "Trias Thaumaturga." 

Ireland," vol. i , chap, via., sec. iv., and n. Vita Tertia S. Brigidne, n. 47. p. 544.^ 
54. pp. 390, 391. 58 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 

5 6 The Third Life of our saint says, that Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S . Brigida Iber- 

she remained here for some years. Colgan nese." libro quinto, p. 375- 
thinks this place where she lived must have =5 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

been a church, called Killbrighde, or St. Vita Quarta S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. xlv., 

Brigid s cell, in Kill-medain Deanery. This p. 557. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidne, cap. 

place is to be found in a catalogue of Ixxiii., p. 536. Ibid. 

churches, belonging to the Waterford dio- 6o See this account amplified and era- 

cese. See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." bellished with illustrative observations, ac- 

Vita Tertia S. Brigidce, cap. Ixxiii., and n. cording to his usual pedantic style of quot- 

46, pp. 536, 544. ing classical and sacred writings, in Abbate 

57 Colgan is unable to identify the particu- D. Giacomo Certani s " La Santita Prodi- 

lar anchorite, who is said here to have lived giosa. Vita cli S Brigida Ibernese," libro 

in this Munster island. He hazards a pos- quinto, pp. 378 to 385. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 85 



Some cattle, also, he wished should graze there during the summer season. 
The holy anchoret, who had so much desired separation from worldlings, 
besought this man to leave the place. To such a reque t, the latter would 
not accede, saying that he held this island as a portion of his paternal in 
heritance. The anchoret then sent for St. Brigid, to exert her influence in 
his behalf; and, when the holy virgin came to the place, she vainly pleaded 
with the proprietor to relinquish his claim. On the day following, however, 
a large eagle came and bore off through air this man s infant son. The 
proprietor s wife and the child s mother came to St. Brigid. Her interposi 
tion was sought with tears and lamentations. Our holy virgin said : "Weep not, 
for your infant lives." The eagle brought her child back and left him s.ifely 
on the shore. The infant s father was still obdurate, and dwelt near the 
place, which he was unwilling to leave ; but, on the following day, Divine 
Omnipotence wrought a miracle, which proved the cause of his conversion. 
The proprietor s heart was now touched, and he repented his former 
obstinacy. Afterwards, he devoted himself to Cod and to St. Brigid, pro 
mising he would not enter into that island, without the anchoret s permission. 61 
On another day, while St. Brigid remained here, some religious guests 
came to visit her. 6 -* Our saint gave a fisherman directions to kill seals, and 
to proceed out towards the sea, in search of something for her guests. 6 3 
The fisherman took his lance, or harpoon, which served to capture marine 
creatures. When he had sailed out to sea, a seal crossed his course. 
Raising his harpoon, it was driven home into the animal s head, while a rope 
attached to it remained in the fisherman s hand. Having received a deadly 
wound, this seal drew the mariner and his bark out towards the deep. Nor 
was his course stayed, until the shore of a certain island, 6 * lying far away in 
the ocean was reached. There the rope was cut, while the mariner reached 
shore in his boat. That seal, however, with the harpoon fixed in his head, 
took an opposite direction. It swam in a direct line towards the shore of 
that place, where St. Brigid dwelt, and there the animal died. The Britons 
gave the man a currach to return, ^ and, trusting in Divine Providence, as 
also on St. Brigid s protection, the fisher set out in this frail bark. Through 
God s blessing, he fortunately reached that port from which he had started, 
about the sixth hour. 66 There he found the seal, lying on the sea-shore, 6 ? 
and with the lance fastened in him. Entering their house, he gave an ac 
count, setting forth those incidents of his voyage, to all the religious in 
mates. 63 



"Trias Thaumaturga." ^ According to Professor O Looney s Irish 

Vita Quarta S. Brigichv. , lib. ii., cap. xlvi., Life of St I .rigid, this incident occurred at 

xlvii., p. 557. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, Tcalagh (TeaLch na Nespoc), in the west 

cap. Ixxiii., p. 536. Ibid. These circum- (cast ?) of Leinster, where pious nobles, i.e., 

stances are related, likewise, with some ad- seven bishops, were her guests, pp. 37, 38. 

ditions and changes, in the Sixth Metrical 64 Possibly the Isle of Man. 

Lile of our saint. It is there stated, that 6j Such is the account in Professor O Loo- 

the anchoret was r, ; nest, and that he was ncy s .Mamt.script. 

obliged to sail over in a vessel to t.e island, " In the morning he went across the Bri- 

when he came to a seaport. That child taken tish sea, and arrived back at mid-day, is 

a\vay by the eagle is said to have been the stated in Professor O Loi ncy s Manuscript, 

only charge his parents had, and in cun.se- ? " Of the Lein>trr sea at this side" is 

quence lie was great y belo\ed by them. stated in Professor O Looney s Manuscript. 

See Vita Sexta S. Ur gickv, sees. NX., xxi., tt! Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 

xxii., xxin., pp. 585, 586. Ibid. Quana S. Brigida, , lib. ii., cap. xlvii., p. 

See this account as given by Abbate D. 557. In the fhird Life of our saint, it is 

Giacomo Lertani, " La Santita Prodigiosa. said, that the fisherman was dragged by the 

Vitadi S. Bngula Ibernese." Libro Quinto, wounded seal to the British coast, when the 

pp. 385 to 387. He places the incident rope \\as cut by a rock on the sea-shore, 

here narrated at Kill-Medain. See Vita Tertia S. Brigida , cap. kxiv., p. 



86 LIFE Of ST. BRIGID. 



Afterwards, St. Brigid, with her nuns, went towards Cliach plain, 6 ? in the 
county of Limerick, and province of Munster.? At a certain place there, she 
remained for some time. During this interim, a fugitive female servant came 
to her, for she had left a mistress whose bearing was intolerable. However, 
following this servant, the mistress intended to bring her back ; but, Brigid, 
wishing to procure the captive liberty, besought her manumission. That 
female slave-owner would not agree to her proposition, as the servant wove 
valuable stuffs. The imperious dame, taking her maid by the hand, even 
proceeded to drag her, with some degree of violence, from the saint s side. 
Such conduct greatly displeased Brigid, and when the servant had been 
drawn a certain distance from her, the tyrannical mistress s right hand, which 
held the slave, immediately withered. Then sorrowfully the dame wept, 
finding herself unable to move her hand. On retiring, she repented this 
violence. She restored her maid to freedom, and at the same time sent her 
to our saint. Immediately afterwards, the woman s hand recovered its former 
strength.? 1 

Referable to the fine early national taste for music and poetry, in alluding 
to the succeeding incident recorded in St. Brigid s Acts, an agreeable French 
writer observes, that, as being children of Erin, austere eremites, contem 
plative virgins, grave abbots, and venerable bishops, heard with delight the 
metallic harp-strings vibrate harmoniously, where such practices were fos 
tered.? 2 When St. Bridget visited the county of Limerick, she had an inter 
view with a chieftain, who lived there in Cliach plain. 73 This district 
stretched over the country around Knockany, and it embraced in part the 
barony of Conagh. 74 St. Brigid had been asked to procure liberty for a 
certain captive ; but, when she came to the chief s house for such a purpose, 
he was not at home. The chief s foster-father and his children, however, 
were in the house. St. Brigid asked them to play upon harps, which were 
hanging there, but they told her that the harpers were away. Hereupon, 
some of Brigid s companions jocularly remarked, they should try their skill, 
as the saint would bless their hands, and enable them to play, if they only 
attempted it. Then, the chief s foster-father, with his sons, said, " May 
God s saint bestow her blessing to enable us to harp for her." Brigid gave 
her benediction to those, -uho were ignorant of musical art or notes. Then 
they played with all the skill of trained harpers. While thus engaged, 
the chief returned towards his house. Approaching it, he asked who had 
produced this music he heard. When told it was his foster-father, with his 
sons, and at St. Brigid s command, the chief was amazed.? He next asked 
a_blessing from their illustrious visitor. This she promised to bestow, pro 
vided he would liberate the captive. With her request he complied. The 
foster-father and his sons followed the profession of harpers to the very day 

536, Ibid. lxxv } p . 536( ibidm 

Colgan says, this appears to be the ? 2 See L. Tachet de Barneval s " Histoire 

pln in Momonia which stretches around Legendaire de 1 Irlande," chap. via., pp. 

Cnoc Ame mountain, for the district in 79, 80. 



, . 

is call ed Aine-CHach. See "i t is called Aracliach by the writers of 

irias Ihaumaturga," Vita Tertia S. Bri- our Irish chronicles. See Colgan s "Acta 

gidffi, n. 48, p. 544. Sanctorum Hibernise," Jan. iii., p. 11, n . 

70 It is amusing to read in D. Giacomo 4. 

Certam, this place called Aine Chiac, under 74 See Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical His- 

the mountain of Croc Aine. See "La San- tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., iv , 

tita Prodigiosa Vita di S. Brigida Iber- and n. 55, pp. 390, 391, and chap vi., 

ne 7 s f- Q L ; bro Q umto - PP- 387, 388. viii., P . 287, ibil 

bee Lolgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 75 See D. Giacomo Certani s " La Santita 

yuarta Vita S. Briridas, lib ii., cap. xlix., p. Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." 

ISO, Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. Libro Quinto, pp. 392 to 395. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 87 



of their death. In after times, their posterity even became esteemed as the 
bards of kings. ? 6 

At another time, two lepers visited Brigid, and entreated her to cleanse 
them from their leprosy. Then praying to God, the saint blessed some 
water, in which she told these lepers they should wash each other.?? While 
one washed his companion, this latter was freed from his leprosy. Clean 
garments were then put upon him. The virgin afterwards said to the re 
stored man, " Do you, in like manner, wash your companion." Finding 
that he was cleansed and had clean garments, the person addressed felt 
pleased at his good fortune ; but, he had a great repugnance to touch his 
afflicted fellow-man. Our saint observed, he should do for his neighbour, 
what he wished the latter to do for him ; yet, still he objected and absolutely 
refused. Then Brigid, rising up, washed that leper with her own hands, 
until he was cleansed. Afterwards, she had him clothed with clean gar 
ments. He who had been first healed then said, "Just now, I feel sparks 
of fire settling on my shoulders. " Immediately his whole body was covered 
anew with leprosy, as a punishment for his pride or want of charity. Thus 
was fulfilled that Scripture sentence, " He who exalteth himself shall be 
humbled ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."? 8 The restored 
man rejoiced and gave thanks to God, who had healed him, through Brigid s 
transcendent merits. 7 ? 

Two other lepers seeking alms came to the charitable abbess. But, she 
had nothing to give at the time, save a cow, and this she offered for division 
between them. One gave thanks to God for her gift ; but the other, who 
was proud and ungrateful, said, unless the whole cow were bestowed, he 
should not receive that part of it, which might fall to his lot. So Then our 
saint addressed the humble leper : " Do you wait awhile with me, until the 
Lord send us something, and let the other man have this cow to himself." 
The covetous man departed with the animal, but after awhile he found him 
self unable to drive it. At length, wearied with such vain efforts, he re 
turned to St. Brigid. He even insulted her with reproaches, conveyed in 
these terms : " 1 could not urge the animal forward, because you have not 
given her, with a willing mind, besides you are too exacting and severe." 
The abbess endeavoured to appease him, but she could not succeed. This 
conduct, so perfectly unjustifiable, much displeased her. At length, she 
said to the insolent fellow, " Thou art a son of perdition, and your cow shall 
now become docile, yet this shall not profit you in the least." At that 
very moment, a man presented himself with a cow, which he destined as an 
offering for St. Brigid. This gift, however, our virgin handed over to the 
good leper. Then both lepers drove their respective cows towards a river. 81 
Here the unthankful man was drowned, nor was his body afterwards re 
covered. The humble leper safely escaped from danger, and brought his 
cow with him. 82 



76 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Ixxvii., p. 537, ibid. 

Tertia Vita S. Brigidse, cap. Ixxvi., pp. 536, 8o See "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 

537. Quarta Vita S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 

!> PP- 557. 558, itid. 398 to 401. 

77 This account is contained in Abbate D. * In Professor O Looney s Life of St. 
Giacomo Certani s "La Santita Prodigiosa. Brigid, where this miracle is recorded, the 
Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, river in question is called the Bearbha, or 
pp. 395 to 39$. Barrow ; and, from this it would seem, St. 

78 Luke, xviii. 14. Brigid was hardly in Munster at the time of 

79 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." its occurrence, see pp. 331036. 

Quarta Vita S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. li., p. 82 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

558. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigida;, cap. Quarta Vita S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. lii., p. 



88 LIFE OF SI. BRIGID. 



Many other actions of St. Brigid, and worthy of being recorded, took 
place, while she dwelt in the Minister province. T litre she also blessed 
many churches and monasteries. Afterwards, she set out on a journey to 
her own city, in the province of Lcinster. Travelling through the plain of 
Femhin, in her chariot, she met a husbandman, cultivating his field, or en 
closing it with a hedge. The charioteer of the holy virgin said to him : 
" Allow us to pass the chariot of St. Brigid through your land, and after 
wards you can surround your field, with a hedge." The husbandman refused 
this request, however, and told the charioteer he must drive round the cir 
cuit of the field. 83 Our holy virgin hereupon replied : " Let us do as he re 
quires, lest any;hing happen on this man s account. Still, the charioteer 
disobeyed her, and drove his horses into the man s field. On seeing this, 
however, the owner furiously struck the horses heads with a club. This 
assault caused the animals to prove restive. Although, St. Brigid was then 
thrown out of her chariot, she suffered no further injury, while her charioteer 
was hurt by the fall. Afterwards, her horses stood quietly, the holy woman 
saying, i; Did I not tell you to avoid this man, because I foresaw he was 
doomed to death and destruction." The rude agriculturist was about to 
repeat his violent behaviour, disregarding the wickedness he meditated 
against God s holy servant. But the Almighty avenged the injury and insult 
offered to his saint; for that insolent boor was prostrated on the earth, and 
there he died. 84 We are next told, that the pious abbess came towards 
Leinster s bounds, and entered a province or region, called Labrathi, 85 or 
Labraide. This is supposed 56 to be an equivalent for Hy-Kinsellach. 8 ? 
There, she dwelt in a certain spot. 88 Whilst here, a woman, accompanied 
by a leprous daughter, visited our holy virgin, to interest this latter in her 
cure. The charitable servant of God fasted, and blessed some water, 8 ? with 
which she ordered the leprous girl to be washed. No sooner had the 
patient been sprinkled with this water, than she was cleansed from her 
leprosy. Both the mother and her daughter then gave thanks to God and 
to St. Brigid.9 



558. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidm, cap. to Bressal Belach, King of Leinster, was the 

Ixxix., p. 537, ibid. This miracle, accord- founder of the Hy Kinselach family. From 

ing to Colgun, is alluded to, in the Vita a son Enda, surnamed Kinselach, and his 

Sexta S. Brigida_>, xvii., p. 585, where a family, this territory had been called Hy- 

portion is truncated, through the fault of Kenselach. See " Trias Thaumaturga." 

him who copied the original M.S. See ibid., Tertn Vita S. Brigida. , n. 50, p. 544. Also, 

n. II, p. 598. Vet, it may be doubted, if Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical History of 

the latter fragmentary account had not refer- Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., iv., and n. 

ence, rather to a miracle, which is related 57, pp. 390, 391. 
in Vita Tertia S. Brigida;, cap. ci., p. 540, 86 By Colgan. 

and in Vita Quarta S. Brigidx, lib. ii., cap. s ? If so, it was a well-known territory in 

Ixx., p. 560, ihid. southern Leinster. 

_ 8 3See D. Giacomo Certani s "La San- S8 See the account given in Abbate D. 

tita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- Giacomo Certani s "La Santita Prodigiosa. 

nese. Libro Quinto, pp. 401 to 404. Vitadi S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, 

4 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." p. 404, et seq. 

Vita Quarta S. Brigida?, lib. ii., cap. liii., 8 There was a well, bearing the name of 

p. 558. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigida:, cap. Tobar-Brigdhe in Hy-Kinsellagh. It was 

Ixxx., p. 537, ibid. In the latter life, it is much resorted to, on account of various 

Brigid went from Clinch plain to cures wrought there, in Colgan s time. This 

Leinster, to assist the pour of her race, in distinguished Irish hagiologist and antiqua- 

er province. It is stated, also, that rian is of opinion, tliat this spring, which 

le was hurt, as well as her charioteer, when was situated in the Leinster province, must 

1 from the chariot. The work, at have been one mentioned in St. Braid s 

winch the man was engaged, is said to have Acts, as having had a miraculous origin. 

been enclosing his field with a hedge. See "Trias Thaumaturga," n. 44, p. 544. 

A certain Labratius or Lauradius, son 9os ee Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID, 89 



We are told, 1 that Brigid, with her religious daughters, took a journey 
towards Connaught ; as, for special reasons, she wished to leave her own 
province of Leinster. On arriving in Connaught, she dwelt, for a time, in 
the plain of Hai.9 2 This was a large and an extensive plain, situated in the 
county of Roscommon and province of Connaught. While there, she built 
cells and monasteries, in the surrounding country. Then, also, did she take 
possession of that parish, about which she uttered the prophecy during her 
infancy, by saying : " This shall be mine, this shall be mine. "93 It is sup 
posed, that some of the cells and monasteries, said to have been founded 
there, and in its neighbourhood, by St. Brigid. were probably Kill-bride, 94 
in the territory of Siol-Muireadhaigh ; Druim-na-bfeadh,95 and Disert, within 
the district Tir-Mhaine; and Druim-dhaim or Druim-dubhain,s 6 in the 
territory of Tiroilill.97 

In the Third Life of St. Brigid, an account relating to this journey is 
given, and towards the end of that treatise. 3 It is probable enough, as 
numbers of pious females flocked from various districts in Ireland, to embrace 
a religious rule, under our saint s direction, that she might h ive judged it ex 
pedient, to extend her institute, in various districts of which several pious 
postulants were natives. Besides the inconvenience of having so many 
persons living in the same establishment, it is likely, Brigid had been invited 
by some bishops, to found houses lor religious women, in their respective 
dioceses, to forward thereby and diffuse more widely the interests of religion. 99 
When necessity or duty required, consecrated virgins often appeared, and 
travelled on public roads. Although there are several places in Connaught 
mentioned, as bearing Brigid s name ; yet, we are not bound to believe, that 
nunneries or churches were established in all such localities by the holy 
virgin, nor during her lifetime. 100 Many of these had probably been erected 
at periods long subsequent ; and their dedication, either to her conventual 
discipline, or possibly only under her invocation, may be fairly assumed, in 
the majority of cases. The series of our saint s transactions has been con 
fused, and frequently inverted, by her different biographers. Dates or localities 
for these narratives are not generally specified. With respect to the present 



Vita Quart a S. Brigidir, lib. ii., cap. liv., the Franciscan order, but he deserved well 

p. 558. Vita Tertia S. Brigido. , cap. Ixxx., of Ireland in general. 

P- 537. *h<t- ^ There the saint is said to have dwelt in 

1 In the Fourth T.ife. the plain of "Air." In a note Colgan adds, 

9 Mn Cohan s time, it was called, Ma- that in the Iri.-h language, it is called, 

chaire Connacht ; and, in more ancient times, Ma^h.iir, i. f., " the plain of slaughter." In 

Mag-ai. the Fourth Life, lib. i., cap. 40, we find 

93 Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Quarta it placed in the province of Connauglit, 
Vita S. Brigidne, lib. i., cap. xlix., and n. where St. Brigid and St. Bronins are known 
2O > PP- 549. 564- to have dwelt, at the time of the occurrences 

94 Kill-brigde, already mentioned, was a narrated. See " Trias Thaumaturga." Vita 
chapel, in the parish of Kill-luckin. Tertia S. Brigidx, cap. xciv., and n. 56, pp. 

95 Druim-na-bfeadh was a parochial church, 539, 544, 545. 

belonging to the diocese of Tuam, or other- ^ tei fia, or the country about Ardagh, of 

wise, of Klphin. v hkh St. Mel was bishop, having been par- 

96 Disert and Druimdhain were parocl.;, ticularly mentioned as a district travelled by 
churches, belonging to the diocese of El- our saint, her frequent interviews with that 
phin. See " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix prelate may have given rise to an opinion, 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigida;, cap. xvi., pp. that she received the religious veil, at his 
6^4, 625. hands. 

In each of these places. St. Brigid was Ico See the observations of Dr. Lanigan on 

venerated, as the special patroness, accord- this subject, and on matters preceding, in 

ing to a catalogue of churches, in Elphin his "Ecclesiastical History of Ireland," vol. 

diocese, sent to Colgan, by the Most Rev. i, chap, viii , iv., and nn. 53, 60, pp. 

Boetius Egan, Bishop of Eiphin. This 389, 390, 391. 
worthy prelate was not only an ornament to 



9 o LIFE OF ST. BR1GID. 

journey of our saint to Connaught, as in the other cases, Brigid and her 
companions, in travelling from one place to another, were often obliged to 
lodge at private houses. 101 

While our saint remained in this part of the country, one day she went 
to receive the Holy Eucharist, from a certain bishop. 102 One of the clergy 
held the chalice, from which our saint refused to drink, on beholding within 
it the vision of a monster. The bishop demanded a reason for her refusal, 
and on being informed, he asked the assistant cleric, what crime he had 
committed, urging him at the same time to confess his sin, and glorify God. 
The cleric 103 humbly confessed, that he had partaken of what had been 
stolen. The prelate then requested him to repent. On complying with this 
injunction, penitently weeping, our saint approached to partake of the chalice, 
and Brigid found the monster had disappeared. Thus the tears of this cleric 
procured pardon for his offence; while, the virgin and the bishop retired rejoic 
ing from the church, after having been refreshed with our Lord s body and 
blood. 104 At another time, a certain aged woman had a dangerous infirmity, 
and Brigid, with many holy women of the place, visited her, to watch and 
pray by her bedside. When this sick person was at the point of death, some 
of her attendants suggested, that her better or superfluous garments might 
be removed, before departure, and especially to save the trouble of after 
wards washing them at a very cold time of the year. But, St. Brigid would 
not consent to this course, saying, the patient should not live long, and that 
it was not charitable, to take away those garments she wore, as a protection 
from that season s inclemency. 105 All who were there admired the saint s 
charity, and returned thanks to God. 105 We are told, also, that when St. 
Brigid dwelt in this part of the country, she was often accustomed to seek a 
pool of cold water, near the monastery. 10 ? There she remained immersed, 
while she prayed and wept during the whole night. This rigorous mortifi 
cation at one time she endured, while snow and frost prevailed, and in pre 
sence of one from among her sisterhood. But, as this rough corporal treat 
ment surpassed the powers of nature to endure, for any continued length of 
time ; so, it pleased the goodness and mercy of God to prevent it, by a 
miracle. On a night immediately following the occurrence related, Brigid 
went with the same companion to renew like austerities, but on arriving at 
the pond, it was found to have become completely dry, nothing appearing 
but the exposed bottom sands. Surprised at this occurrence, the virgins re 
turned home ; yet, at the earliest hour of day-break, on the following morn 
ing, its waters were found to have returned to their usual level in the lou^h. 



01 The missionary state of things at the under both species. We have also warrant 

time warrants such a supposition. for the Catholic dogmas of the Real Pre- 

13 In D. Giacomo Certani s account, he sence and Sacramental Confession, prevail- 

is called Bishop Bron. See "La Santita ing in the early Irish Church, from the fore- 

Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." going narrative. 

Libre i Quinto, pp. 408 to 410. ^ See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s 

>In Certams account he is called a "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Bri- 

deacon - , gida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 410 to 

^ Such is the narrative as given in the 412. 

Fourth Life of pur saint. An account in 6ln giving an account of this circum- 

tne 1 hird Life is nearly similar, only we stance, our saint is said to have wrought a 

are told in this latter, that one of the bishop s miracle, recorded in the Third Life It is 

boys held the chalice. In the former, it is also mentioned in the Vita Sexta S. Brigidce, 

said, unus tune de mimstris Christi tenebat Ivii., p 594 

calicem." It would seem from this anec- >7 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s 

dote according to the primitive discipline "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Bri- 

of he Irish Church, m St. Brigid s time, gida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 412 to 

that Holy Communion had been received 417. 



LIPE OP ST. BRIG ID. 91 



St. Brigid resolved the third night similarly to repeat her practice, when a 
similar disappearance of the waters took place on her approach. These waters 
returned to the bed of that lough early on the following morning. Almighty 
power was pleased to work such a miracle, on account of God s holy servant. 
Always pleasing in his sight, as the beloved disciple, St. John, Brigid had 
been delivered from impending torture and death. A knowledge of this 
event, also, caused all persons to extol those wondrous favours of Heaven 
manifested towards the holy abbess, who was entreated by her friends to re 
strain her mortifications, because they seemed to be providentially discou 
raged. Coinciding in a like opinion, Brigid yielded her own desires to these 
urgent requests, after such Divine warnings. 103 

Following nearly the order of events, henceforward, as recorded in the 
Fourth Life of our saint although it is by no means certain, that the series 
of her actions as given in the Third Life might not, on the whole, be more 
strictly chronological and consecutive it will be necessary, mainly to 
accommodate those narratives contained in her other lives, to accounts com 
prised in the Second Book. 10 ^ By adopting this course, we are brought im 
mediately to the foundation of her great religious establishment at Kildare ; 
and, from the most reliable chronological date, a considerable period must 
have elapsed from the time of this erection to the year of her death. This 
appears the more necessary, to give some degree of probability to accounts 
regarding her various journeys in distant parts of the island, while promoting 
the great objects of her mission. Sufficient time should thus be allowed for 
accomplishing those excursions, and for the performance of many miracles, 
attributed to her, in connexion with various localities. It is to be regretted, 
however, that the places where they occurred are rarely mentioned, nor are 
times usually specified, by any of her biographers. 

While Brigid resided in the western province, the fame of her sanctity 
became diffused all over Ireland. Numbers flocked from all parts to visit 
her ; some for the purpose of holding conferences or seeking advice on re 
ligious matters others for the relief of corporal and physical necessities. 
But the people of Leinster especially those residing in the territory, where 
she was born 110 and had received her earliest education conceived them 
selves best entitled to the honour ami advantages to be derived, from the 
holy virgin s local residence. Taking counsel together, they resolved on 
sending a respectful request, through a deputation of her friends, that the 
virgin might be induced to revisit her own province, there to found a reli 
gious house, which should become the parent establishment for her different 
institutes, throughout the whole island. Having arrived in Connaught, this 
deputation proceeded to unfold the object of their journey, and to enforce 
their wishes by such reasons as they supposed should soonest determine her 
acquiescence, in the unanimous opinion of those people whom they repre 
sented. Brigid yielded without much difficulty to their desires. Having 
arranged matters, connected with her existing nunneries, in the western pro 
vince, she set out towards her better known district. 111 

Returning to Leinster, she was obliged to cross the river Shannon," 2 and 



Ifc8 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturge," " See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His- 

Vita Quarta S. Brigida:, lib. i., cap. 1., li., tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., x., pp. 

Hi., pp. 549, 550. Also, Vita Tertia S. 405,406. 

Brigidx, cap. xcir., xcv., xcvi. p. 539, II2 " Intra quam Kelltraest conventus rite 

ibid. ^ virorum 

39 Xamely of St. P>rigid s Fourth Life. Prudeivium, sacro Benedict! dogmate 

10 This place, however, was not within florens." 

the bounds of ancient Leinster ; if we credit So says the Sixth Life of our saint. The 

most accounts. place here mentioned is situated between 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



we are told, that she came to a place called Ath-Luain ri 3 for this purpose. 
Tne present town of Athlone 11 -* probably marks the spot. This is situated 
nearly in the centre of Ireland, being partly in the county of Roscommon, 
and partly in that of Westmeath. It is thought to have derived its name 
from Ath, an Irish word signifying " ford," and Lnan, " the moon," 11 to 
which heathen deity it was said to have been dedicated in pagan times. 116 
Near it is Tobar-Brigdhe, on the Connaught side. "7 Here, St. Bri<jid found 
some people, respectively belonging to the province of Connaught and to 
the race of Neill, contending with each other. The Shannon, the largest of 
our Irish rivers, formed a boundary, between the ancient provinces of Meath 
and Connaught. The former of these provinces belonged to the Hi Niell 
family, because the southern O Neills, or the posterity of Laoim re, Conall, 
Crimtnam,Fiach,and Manius,four sous to Niell the great. King of Ireland, were 
its colonists. The companions of St. Brigid asked some ferry-men on the 
river bank to take them across, but the boatmen demnnded a fare for this 
service." 3 This demand the sisters refused to comply with, and they de 
clared their intention to walk across the river,"9 believing that through St. 
Brigid s blessing the Almighty would preserve them, as he had formerly 
opened a passage through the Red Sea and the river Jordan, for his ser- 



the ancient territories of Thomoncl and Con- 
naught. It is an island in the Shannon, now 
called Inis-Keltra. The circumstance of the 
Benedictine institute mentioned, as flourish 
ing there, at a time when the Sixth Life was 
written, may furnish a clue to the period of 
its composition. The foregoing Latin lines 
are quoted by Archdall. who gives us no 
account, however, regarding a Benedictine 
institute having been here established. Yet, 
he seems to refer its foundation to the 
seventh or eighth century. See " Monas- 
ticon Hibernicum," p. 48. 

113 In Irish, it is called Athhtain, a town 
lying between the ancient bounds of Con- 
naught and Meath, where the Shannon sepa- 
fated both provinces. A bridge thrown 
across the river afforded a passage long be 
fore Colgan s time, and at present, more 
than one bridge spans the Shannon, at this 
place. In the Latin lives of St. Brigid, it 
is here said, that she came, " juxta vadum 
Lua," or otherwise " vacli luain," as ex 
pressed in " Quarta Vita S. Brigidte, lib. 
ii., cap. i. 

^" 4 It seem? unaccountable, when Marcus 
Keane in his "Towers and Temples of An 
cient Ireland" alludes to St. Lu n alias Mo- 
lua whom he identifies with a Pagan divi 
nity, the Moon that the writer did not dis 
cover such fanciful derivation for the town, 
and did not connect St. Luan in some way 
with Ath-luain, which is missing from his 
curious list of cognate localities. See pp. 
59, 60. . 

"= A very interesting account of this town, 
and the sieges it stood, tirst when Lieutenant- 
Genernl Douglas arrived before the place, 
July I yth, 1090, and when a second time 
General de Gmckell appeared before it, June 
igih, 1691, at the head of 27.000 men are 
presented in Charles FirenJi Blake Foster s 

"Irish Chieftains; or a Struggle for the 



Crown ; with numerous Notes and a copious 
Appendix." Chap, xxi., pp. 166 to 168, 
and chan. xxx. xxxi., pp. 208 to 220. 

"The derivation of the name would 
appear to be confirmed by the discovery of 
several lunettes and crescents of gold in an 
adjoining bog, which were sold to a Dublin 
jeweller for .Sv8, by whom they were 
melted down. Had they been previously 
examined by a clever antiquary, they would 
most probably have thrown great light on 
early Irish history, as I have been informed 
that some of them bore inscriptions which 
were unintelligible to the finders." Ibid., 
note 86, p. 495. 

117 Colgan informs us that on account of 
many miracles wrought there, not only 
Catholics, but those without the fold, were 
accustomed to visit it, coming from the most 
distant parts. Whereupon, the illustrious 
Lord Randall MacDonnell, Count of An 
trim, distinguished as much for his Christian 
piety as bv his noble birth, had it surrounded 
with handsome and firmly-pointed mason- 
work. See "Trias Thaumahtrga," n. 44, 
p. 544. It must be incorrectly stated by 
Frazer, that the first Earl of Antrim in 1685 
erected nn old building. wHch enc oses the 
sacred fountain at Brideswell, in Roscom 
mon county, about six and a-half miles from 
Athlone. Colgan, who mentions it, pub 
lished his work in 1647. many years pre 
vious. The inscription on a door-way over 
the well must reveal some earlier dnte. See 
" Hand Book for Travellers in Ireland." 
No. 105, p. 479. 

18 In the Third Life of our saint, it is 
spid, they a^ked for a clonk or a blanket, 
belong ng to these virgins, as a recompense 
lor the service required. 

: 9 During very dry seasons, the Shannon 
was formerly fordable at Athlone. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 93 



vants. 120 Then they besought their holy abbess to make a sign of the cross 
over the Shannon waters, that they might decrease, so as to become fordable. 
This request she heard most favourably : with her sisters she entered the 
river, and in presence of people belonging to both contending factions. To 
the wonder and admiration of beholders, although without the aid of boats, 
the strongest men and soldiers there assembled could not pass, it was found, 
the waters did not reach the knees of this holy company of virgins, then 
crossing. Before the saint and her companions entered the river, some 
clerics, who had hired a small vessel, asked one of Brigid s nuns to accom 
pany them. She permitted a young and timid sister to cross the river before 
her in that vessel. 1 - 1 This virgin had previously asked the blessing of her 
superioress, from whom she feared to be separated in crossing over ; and 
Brigid said : Go in peace, the Lord will preserve you. " But, in sight of 
all, the bark sunk in the mid-stream, when, fearful of danger, the men invoked 
aid from the holy abbess. Brigid blessed and prayed for her nun ; the 
waves carried this sister safely to her destination, without even wetting her 
garments. All, who were near the spot, gave glory to God, and lauded the 
wonders it pleased Heaven to accomplish through the merits of our illus 
trious saint. 1 - 2 Yet greater moral miracles than these was she destined to 
effect ; and, filled with a happy inspiration, she directed her course to that 
place, which afterwards became inseparably connected with her heroic 
actions while living, and with their memory, when she was called away to 
her eternal reward. 



C II A P T E R VI. 

KINGS OF IRELAND IN THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CENTURIES CONDITION OF LEINSTER 
AFTER THE MIDDLE OF THE FIFTH CENTURY KILDARE PERIOD WHEN SELECTED 
BY ST. BRIGII) FOR HER CHUT MONASTERY GRADUAL (iKUWTU AND IMPORTANCE 
OF THE 1 LACE INSTANCES OF HER PROTECTION. 

THE Annals of Ireland relate certain revolutionary changes, whereby the 
supreme sovereignty passed from one family line to another, during the fourth 
and fifth centuries. Ambitious and enterprising warriors aspired to rule the 
island, as fortune or the force of circumstances favoured their designs. 
After the middle of the fourth century, 1 the monarch Eochaidh, surnamed 
Muigh Mheadhoin, 2 slew his predecessor, Caelbadh, A n. 357,2 and afterwards 
he reigned for eight years, 4 when he died at Tara, 5 A.D. 365. Twice had he 



1=0 Exodus, xvi. 22. 3 This is set down to A.D. 353 in O Ma- 

121 See " The Life of St. Brigid," by an hony s Keating s "History uf Ireland," 
Irish Priest, chap, v., pp. 65. 66. booki., chap, vii., p. 367. He only reigned 

122 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." one year. See Gratianus Lucius (Dr. John 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidx-, lib. ii., cap. i., ii., Lynch), " Cambrensis Eversus, " vol. i., 
and n. i, pp. 550, 564. Vita Teriia S. BIT- chap, viii., pp. 492, 493. Rev. Dr. Kelly s 
gidre, cap. xcvii., and n. 56, pp. 539, 545> edition. 

ibid. Vita Se.xta S. lirigid.v, IviiL, p. 4 See an account of this king and his 

594, and n. 16, p. 598, ibid. epoch in O Flaherty s "Ogygia," pars, iii., 

CHAP, vi. 1 In the following historical cap. Ixxix, Ixxx. , pp. 373 to 38^. 

resume, we chiefly follow the chronology of 5 During his reign, it is said, St. Patrick 

the Four Masters m the text. was carried as a captive into Hibernia. 

a He received this name, rendered " Cam- See William M. Hennessy s " Chronicum 

pormn Amplificator," according to Dr. Scotorum," pp. 14, 15- 

Charles O Conor, probably because he was "Or A.M. 5564, according to the state- 

an extender or improver of Ian Is. See ment in Dr. John Lynch s " Cambrensis 

" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus E versus," vol. i. , chap, viii., pp. 492, 493. 

ii, Tigernacbi Annales, pp. 72, 73. See Rev. Dr. Kelly s edition. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



been married. ? Crimhthann, 8 son ofFidhach, a warlike and an accomplished 
prince, succeeded Eochaidh Muighmeadhoin. It is recorded, that he made 
successful predatory inroads on the shores of France, Britain and Scotland, 
from which countries he obtained tribute and submission, returning to Ire 
land with hostages and captives. 9 After a reign of thirteen years, 10 he is 
said to have died of poison, administered by his own sister, Mongfimi. 11 
Thus she hoped to obtain the succession for her favourite son Brian, 12 as 
Crimthaan died without issue ; but, in this expectation she was disappointed, 
and her own death is said to have happened, about the same time, A.D. 378. 
Her step-son, the celebrated Niall of the Nine Hostages, 1 ^ next came on the 
throne. This king commenced his reign, A.D. 379, 14 and distinguished his 
career by a series of brilliant and successful expeditions against the Alba 
nians, Britons, Picts and Gauls, from whom he carried away valuable spoils 
and several captives. Among the latter, as generally supposed, was our 
illustrious national saint, at a subsequent period destined by Divine Provi 
dence to become the great apostle of Ireland. It is said, that when Niall 
arrived in Albyn or Albania, now Scotland, to assist the Dailriads of Irish 
extraction against the incursions of the Picts, he changed the name of that 
country to Scotia at their request. Scotland was thenceforward known as Scotia 
Minor, to distinguish it from Ireland, which was denominated Scotia Major. 
The reason why this heroic monarch received the name of Niall of the Nine 
Hostages is said to have been owing to the circumstance of his having had 
four noble hostages from Scotland, and five other distinguished pledges from 
the different provinces of Ireland, confined at Tara. Yet, accounts are 
somewhat discordant as to the nine regions from which these hostages were 
taken. The people of Leinster are represented as having surrendered 



7 This monarch had four sons by his first 
wife Mongfimi, who wasdaughter to Fidhach, 
of the royal family of Minister. Her sons 
were : I. Bryan, ancestor of the CX Conors 
of Connaught and their kindred ; 2. Fiachra, 
ancestor of the O Dowdas, O Heynes and 
O Shaughnessys ; 3. Fearghus ; and 4. 
Oilioll, whose people were formerly located 
in Tir-Oiliolla, now the barony of Tirerrill, 
in the county of Sligo. By his second 
wife, Carinna, a Saxon or Pictish lady, the 
most illustrious of his sons, Niall of the 
Nine Hostages, descended. 

8 Crimthann ascended the throne A.D. 
360, according to O Mahony s Keating s 
"History of Ireland," book i., chap, vii., 
p. 369. According to Tigernach, his 
reign commenced about A. D. 366. 

9 To his predatory excursions, Eumenius, 
Claudian, Ammianus Marcellinus, Gildas, 
and Venerable Bede, allude. Tnose raids 
checked the Roman conquests in Britain, 
but they so harrassed the Britons, that these 
in turn were induced to call the Saxons to 
protect them. This led to the settlement 
of that warlike race in England. See John 
D Alton s " History of Ireland and Annals 
of Boyle," vol. ii. , pp. 55, 56. 

10 In the " Chronicum Scotorum," how 
ever, it is said he only reigned five years, 
and died A.D. 376. See pp. 16, 17. Edited 
by W. M. Hennessy. 

11 She appears to have been living at the 
same time with Eochaidh Muigh Mheadh- 



oin s second wife ; so that, she had either 
been divorced by the monarch, or, as seems 
likely enough, a plurality of wives was in 
vogue among some of the Pagan Irish. 

l - See O Mahony s Keating s " History of 
Ireland," book i., chap, vii., pp. 371, 372. 

13 Niall had fourteen sons, eight of whom 
left issue : viz., i. Eaeghaire, from whom 
the O Coindhealbhains or Kendellans of 
Ui-Laeghaire are descended ; 2. Conall 
Crimhthainne, from whom the O Melagh- 
lins are derived ; 3. Fiacha, the ancestor of 
the MacGeoghegans and O Molloys ; 4. 
Maine, the progenitor of the O Caharneys, 
O Breens and MacGawleys, with their co- 
relatives in Tettia. All these sons setcled 
in Meath. The other four acquired exten 
sive possessions in Ulster, where they re 
sided : viz., i. Eoghan, ancestor of the 
O Neills and various kindred families ; 2. 
Conall Gulban, ancestor of the O Donnells ; 
3. Cairbre, whose posterity dwelt in the 
barony of Carbury, in the present county of 
Sligo, and in the barony of Granard in the 
county of Longford ; 4. Enda Finn, whose 
descendants settled in Tir-Enda of Tyr- 
connell, and in Kinel-Enda, near the hill of 
Uisneach, County Westmeath. 

14 See Dr. Charles O Conor s " Rerum 
Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus ii., p. 80. 
In O ^Mahony s Keating s " History of Ire 
land," the date for his accession is A.D. 
577- See book i., chap, vii., p. 372. 



LlfE OP SI. BRIGID. 



95 



Eochaidh, son of Enna Ceinnseallach, king of the province, for a pledge of 
their allegiance. This prince, however, contrived to escape from his guards, 
and followed the King of Ireland on a warlike expedition. At the sea, 
called Muir-n-Icht, between France and England, and supposed to have been 
situated near the site of the present Boulogne, the Prince of Leinster assas 
sinated the warlike Xiall, A.D. 405, after the latter monarch had reigned 
gloriously, during the term of twenty-seven years. Other accounts have it, 
that he was killed near the banks of the Loire. The posterity of this re 
nowned warrior were known as the northern and southern Hy-Niall, or 
descendants of Xiall. From this distinguished race, nearly all the kings of 
Ireland derive their origin down to the twelfth century. 5 Dathi, grandson 
of the former monarch of Ireland, Eochaidh Muighmheadhoin, succeeded. 
This prince was remarkable for activity of body and a spirit of military ad 
venture. He pushed his conquests with great success in the territories of 
France, where he was at length killed by a stroke of lightning at the Alps. 
His body was carried home to Ireland, and interred with military honours at 
.Rathcroghan, where his grave was marked by a red pillar-stone, according to 
the accounts contained in some old and trustworthy records. 16 Dathi closed 
his reign of twenty-three years, A.D. 428. He was immediately succeeded 
by the last king who ruled over Pagan Ireland, Leaghaire, 1 ? son to Xiall, the 
hero of the Xine Hostages. During his reign, the illustrious St. Patrick 
preached the Gospel in Ireland, 6 and it is probable, also, St. Brigid first saw 
the light. This monarch s chief engagements were fought with the people 
of Leinster. 5 When a reign of thirty years had been completed, Leaghaire, 
who does not appear to have embraced the Christian religion, died, A.D. 
458. 20 He was succeeded by Oilioll Molt, 21 son of Dathi. After a dis 
turbed reign of twenty years, during which he contended with the Leinster- 
men, Oilioil was slain at the battle ot Ocha, in Meath, A.D. 478, by Lughaidh, 
son of Leaghaire, who succeeded. 22 It does not seem to be well established 
that even this monarch had been a believer in the sublime truths of 



15 A very complete account of this mon- the Clarendon MSS., No. 4795, Bibl. Harl., 
arch, and of the incidents during his reign, it is staled, that the illustrious future mis- 
will be found in O .Mahony s Keating s sionary arrived in Ireland in the twelfth 
" History of Ireland, 1 book i., chap, vii., year of this king s reign. See ibid. t tomus 
PP- 372 to 394. iv., p. i. 

16 See an illustration of the "Pillar of "> Dr. Charles O Conor, who supplies the 
Dathi, Rathcroghan," with a description of hiatus in the "Annals of Tighernach," 
Relig-na-ree, as also a ground plan of the assigns to A.D. 452 a great battle fought by 
tumuli there, in " Proceedings ofthe Royal King Laogaire against the Leinstermen. 
Irish Academy, " vol. i., series ii. ; a paper, See ibid., tonius ii., p. 109. 

by Samuel Ferguson, LL.D., " On Ancient 20 Yet the " Annales Buellani," or " An- 

Cemeteries at Rathcroghan and elsewhere rials of Boyle," state that, at A.D. 460, a 

in Ireland," read February 26, 1872, pp. fierce war was waged by Laegare Mac Neill, 

11410118. and again at A.D. 465, that the Leinster- 

17 In John D Alton s " History of Ireland men fought against him at Atha-dara or the 
and the Annals of Boyle," vol. ii., King " ford of the oaks," in which the monarch 
Leogaire is slated to have begun his reign was made a prisoner, but afterwards ran- 
A.D. 426 and to have ended it A.D. 470, somed, he swearing by the sun and wind, 
thus giving him a rule of 44 years. See pp. that he should send them a number of oxen. 
64> 69. See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum 

18 The "Annales Inisfalenses," edited Scriptores, " tomus ii., p. 2. 

from the Bodleian MS. Rawlinson, No. 503, 2I His accession to the throne is placed at 

state, that St. Patrick commenced his mis- A.D. 457 in O Mahony s Keating s " His- 

sion A.D. ccccxxxil., in the fourth year of tory ol Ireland," book i., chap, vii., p. 

King Leagaremeicc A eill s reign. See Dr. 418. 

Charles O Conor s "Rerum Hibernicarum 2 - The date given for this event is A.D. 

Scriptores," tomus ii., p, i. In an addition 477 by Keating. See ibid., p. 420. The 

to the " Annales Ultonienses, found among Four Masters have A.D. 479. 



9 6 



LIFE Of ST. BR1GID. 



Christianity.^ Some battles arc on record during the rule of this king, who 
was killed by a flash of lightning, A.D. 503, after holding the sovereignty of 
Ireland for twenty-five years. 24 

During the course of these foregoing public events, Enna or Endeus 
Kinnselach, descended from Catheir Mor, 2 5 had founded the tribe and 
district of Ui-Kinnselach, in South Leinster, to which he gave name. 26 _ After 
the father s death, his son Crimthann took possession of this inheritance, 
and afterwards, it is thought, he was king over the whole of Leinster. This 
warrior dynast 2 ? joined in a confederacy with Lugaid 28 son to the monarch 
Leaghaire, Fiachra, Muircheartach Mac Earca, and Fearghus Cerbhell. The 
Leinstermen were led by Crimthann, and the Dal-Araidhe 2 ? by their Dynast 
Fiachra. Different versions of their proceedings are given ; however, it is 
generally allowed, that the supreme monarch, Uilioll Molt, either gave or 
was obliged to accept battle at Ocha, which is said to have been near The- 
moria or Tara. This celebrated engagement took place, according to some 
accounts, A.D. 478,3 while others defer it to A.D. 4823 1 O r 483. 3 2 Crimthann 



a3 "The Annals of the Four Masters" tell 
us that St. 1 atrick died, A.D. 493, in the 
fifteenth year of Lughaidh s reign, and that 
he was buried at Down. See Dr. O Dono- 
van s edition, vol. i., pp. 154 to 159, with 
accompanying notes. 

24 See the Author s "Catechism of Irish 
History," Lesson v., pp. 33 to 37, and 
Lesson vi., pp. 39 to 42. 

25 Gilla-mo-duaius, a historical writer of 
deserved authority, says, that none of the 
Leinster kings, after Cathair More, were 
enumerated among the monarchs over Ire 
land. Gilla-mo-dudius wrote an esteemed 
tract, OntheChrisiianMonarchsof Ireland," 
extending from A.D. 431 to A. U. 1 143, where 
his history ends. In the " Journal of the 
Royal Historical and Archa:ological Asso 
ciation of Ireland," there is an interesting 
tract, translated and edited by J. O Beirne 
Crowe, A.B., and No. ii. among his series, 
"Ancient Lake Legenus of Ireland." It is 
intituled: "The \ isioh of ^ mhair Mor, 
King of Leinster, and aftervvai ds Monarch 
of Ireland, foreboding the origin of Loch 
Carman (Wexford Haven)." See vol. ii. 
Fourth Series, .No. 9, pp. 26 to 49. This is 
edited from three dnierent copies, taken re 
spectively from the Books of Leinster, 
Lecan and Ballymote. 

- u See the Genealogies, which form Part 
iii. of O Mahouy s Keaiing s " History of 
Ireland," chap, x., pp. 693 to 697. 

- 7 There was a " Catalogue ct the Kings 
of Ireland," by an anonymous author, to be 
found in U Malchonrian s book. This was 
in Colgan s possession, and it thus gives the 
names of Uilill s three principal opponents, 
without making mention oi Crimthann or 
Lugad. It states, that after Ulild Molt, 
King of Ireland, and the son of Dathy, son 
to 1-iach, sou of Lochaid Macmeadon, had 
reigned twenty years, he was ki.led by 
Murchertach, Fergus Kerrbheoil, and by 
Fiach Lonn, the son of Caelbad, King of 



Dalaradia. In the Acts of St. Kieran, how 
ever, this victory is attributed to Crimthann. 
See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hibernian," 
v. Martii. Vita S. Kierani, cap. xix., p. 
460. 

~* Gilla-mo-dudius ascribes this victory 
and carnage to Lugad, son to Laogaire, the 
immediate successor of Oiiill in the sove 
reignty of Ireland. 

-> " St. Beg mac De" or " Beccus, son of 
Pea," a celebrated Irish prophet, died in the 
year 557. In a certain iragment of a work 
he wrote, " On the Kings of Ireland," and 
which is cited in the " Annals of the Four 
Masters," at A.D. 478, regarding this battle, 
the English translation runs :- 

" The great battle of Ocha was fought 
In which many battalions were cut off, 
Against Oiliolt Molt, son of Nathi, 
\\ ho was defeated by the Dal-Araide." 

See O Donovan s edition, vol. i., pp. 150, 

151, and n. (l), ibid. 

30 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Foar Masters," vol. i., pp. 148 to 151, with 
accompanying notes. 1 he Annales Inis- 
falenses" place it at tins year. See Dr. 
Charles O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum 
Scnptores," tomus ii., pp. 3, 4. 

31 In the " Annales Lhtoiuenses, " at A.D. 
482, the battle of Oclia is piaced, and in 
the loliowingyear 483 we have an account 
ol the " jugulatio" or murder o! Crimthainn, 
son of Lima Censelach, son to Uresul Belac, 
King of Leinster. But, as it doubifui regard 
ing the date for both events, it is again 
stated, after noting the first war atGranearad, 
at A.D. 485, that it was probably there 
Crimthann received his death-wound, bee 
ibid., tomus iv., p. 7. 

32 Ussher places it at this year. See 
" Britannicarum Lcclesiarum Antiquitates," 
cap. xvii., p. 490, and at " Index Chronolo- 
gicL!S,"A.D. CCCCLXXXIII. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



97 



is related to have killed Oilioll Molt in this battle.33 Moreover, in the 
Acts of St. Kieran,34 it would appear to be stated, that this Crinnhann ob 
tained supreme sovereignty over the country after the light of Ocha.35 
Doubtless, his power was great, and his inlluence was respected by the 
supreme monarch who succeeded ; but, Crimthann himself does not seem to 
have aspired to the sovereignty oi Ireland. He survived this battle of 
Ocha, as we might infer, only one year ; for, it is said, he received a mortal 
wound in the battle of (inmaird, fought in the year 478,^ yet, most strangely, 
the verv same authority deters his death to 480.3? Perhaps, he was instru 
mental in aiding St. Urigid to found her nunnery and church at Kildare, 
while he was chief ruler over the Lemper province. 3 3 His daughter Ethnea, 
surnamed Huathadi, - is said to have been married to the religious ^L ngus, 
Prince of Minister, who had been baptized by St. Patrick. 

W hen the illustrious lady reached the Leinster province, its chiefs and 
people welcomed her with the liveliest demonstrations of respect and re 
joicing. She sought a spot, but slightly elevated over the surrounding ex 
tensive " plain of the Liliy. r - There the ground was gently undulating and 
fertile; and, it is said to have been anciently styled, Druim Criadh, or "the 
ridge of clay."-* 1 At this time, a large oak tree a favourite with our saint, 
and blessed by her grew upon the spot. Its branches spread around, and 
it must have been a remarkable natural feature of the landscape.* 2 This 



33 This is stated, in the (..Id historical tract, 
called " Borumha-Laighean." Jt must he 
observed, also, that as Cnmthami \v .is pre 
sent at Delia hattle, the " Annals of the 
Four Masters lull into an error, when they 
state under A. I). 405. that Crimthann, son 
of Enda-Censelaeh, King of Lehistcr, \\as 
killed by the son of his own daughter, i.e., 
Eochaidh Ciuineach, [one] of" the t i- 
Bairrche." Again, "The Annals of Clon- 
macnoise record, that Crimthann waskil.ed 
at the battle of Ard-corran. Vet the " An- 
nales Inisfalenses" place his death at A.D. 
CCCCI.XXX., and afterwards note the " Del- 
luni Ardacoraind" at ccccxcvu. See Or. 
Charles D Conor s " Keium ilibernicarum 
Scriptores," tonuis ii., pp. 4, 5. Again, the 
"Annals of Ulster" place the battle oi Arda 
Corann or Mount Corann, and the death of 
Lugdach, son of Laegaire, at A.D. 500 or 
507. See z<W., tomus iv., p. u. 

> 4 See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hiber 
nian," v. Martii. Vita S. Kierani, cap. xix., 
p. 460. 

33 Dubtach O Luguir, a disciple of St. 
Patrick, who is said to have been present, 
and an eye-witness of this battle, in a little 
work, which he wrote on the Acts of this 
same Crimthann. and which Colgan had in 
his possession, beais similar testimony. 

3* According to the" Annals of Inisfallen," 
which, strangely enough, make two kings 
of Leinster (all in this battle. Due is named 
Finchad, and the other Crimthann Censelach, 
who killed Echad, ana received himself a 
mortal wound. Perhaps, the meaning is, 
that both were kings or dynasts in Leinster ; 
or that their supreme power alternated at 
different times. Some writers state, accord 
ing to the same authority, that Meicc Eircc 



was victor in this battle, while others have 
Coirprc as victor. See Or. D Conor s " Re- 
rum Ilibernicarum Scriptores," tomus ii., 
p. 4. 

> : Sec il>iJ. Perhaps he lingered on for 
two years after being wounded. 

Ja Ihis Crimthann, who was present at 
the battle of Delia, in A.D. 478, or accord 
ing to other accounts in the years 482 or 
4\i> might have been buried at or in Kil 
dare Monastery, which is supposed to have 
been lounded about, if notbelore, such era. 
And this passage also strengthens the proof 
that Crimthann was not killed in A.D. 465. 
See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," nn. 
& 9, 10 , p. 565. Likewise, D Oonovan s 
Annals of the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 
146, 147, n. (r), ibid: And pp. 148 to 151, 
nn. (d, e, f), ibid. 

Jy See Colgan s "Acta Sanctorum Iliber- 
nia;," v. Martii. Vita S. Kierani, cap. xix., 
p. 460. 

4 -ln Irish called, tTUg Lipln. The river 
flows through a level country in Kildare. 

1 See " Proceedings of the Royal Irish 
Academy," vol. ix., First Series. W. M. 
Hennessy s paper "On the Curragh of Kil 
dare," p. 340,. 

4 - In one of his many fictions, Dempster 
asserts, that Kildare derived its name from 
a St. Dana, the mother of St. Ursula, who 
brought certain relics to Ireland. See 
" Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum, 
lib. iv. Colgan remarks, that before Demp 
ster s time, no writer ever asserted these 
relics were brought to Ireland, or that Kil 
dare derived its name from them. See 
"Trias Thaumaturga," Tertia Vita S. Bri- 
gidae, n. 23, p. 543. 



H 



9 s 



LII E ST. BRIGID. 



site now very much denuded of oak-* 3 was chosen by St. Brigid for her 
projected conventual establishment. The local proprietor of this soil and 
people living in the neighbourhood soon helped to provide a habitation for 
their future patroness and for her religious sisters. It has been asserted, the 
first church built there was constructed with wattles ; 44 and, owing to the 
circumstance of its having nestled under or near the large spreading tree, it 
got the name Kildare, 45 or " the cell of the oak." 46 When the author of St. 
Brigid s Fourth Life lived, the roots, or part of the trunk, belonging to this 
venerable tree, remained. 47 The adjoining plain of the Curragh is tradi 
tionally held to have been St. Brigid s pasture ground, 48 to which she never 
prevented the neighbouring people from sending their cattle. w This is 
thought to have been the origin of what still constitutes the popular right of 
commonage. Various legendary stones connect St. Brigid and her nuns 
with its former proprietorship ; while, these are stated to have been engaged 
in the pastoral occupation of tending herds and flocks on its plains. Portions 
of the surface had probably been subjected to tillage, and this tract of land 
afforded means for enabling the community to procure a subsistence. 50 The 
Round Tower at Kildare and the adjoining ruins probably represent the 
exact site of St. Brigid s early conventual establishment and of the church 
connected with it. The round tower is considered to be one of the finest 
specimens of its class, as well as one of the most highly ornamented in 
Ireland. 51 The castellated top of the tower is modern. It is said there are 
sundry vestiges of ancient work about the site of Kildare, but that these are 
so incorporated with the buildings of Christian times, it is now difficult to 
distinguish them. 52 At what particular period St. Brigid s establishment was 



43 In Miss Harriet Martineau s "Letters 
from Ireland," the intelligent authoress, la 
menting the want of wood cultivation in the 
island, alludes to the fine oaks, elms, ash 
and beech, on the properties of Lord Downes 
and of the Duke of Leinster, in the great 
plain of Kildare. See Letter vii. How 
Ireland is to get back its woods, p. 51. Lon 
don : 1852. 8vo. 

44 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, pp. 33, 34, it is said, that while 
one hundred horse-load of wattles passed 
through Kildare, when Bishop Mel and 
Brigid were there, she sent four of her 
virgins to ask those wattles as a gift from 
Ailill, son of Dunlaing. These he gave 
her, and it was of them the great house of 
Sancta Brigida in Kildare was made. 

45 The derivation of Kildare eounty is 
from Chille-dara or " the wood of oaks," 
according to Thomas James Rawson s " Sta 
tistical Survey of the County of Kildare," In 
troduction, p. i. He contends, it was an 
ciently called Cae lan or Galen, i.e., "the 
woody country," being formerly almost one 
continuous wood, " the decay of which 
produced the great extent of bogs, which 
cover so much of the country at this day, 
and by the quantity of timber, with which 
they abound, bear incontestable marks of 
their origin." See ibid., p. ii. 

45 " The very oak under which she de 
lighted to pray has given a name to the 
place." "Watkmson s " Survey of the South 
of Ireland," Letter ix. , p. 92. 



4 ? The same writer tells us, such was the 
veneration in which it was held, that no one 
dared to cut it with an iron instrument, al 
though many persons were accustomed to 
remove portions of it with their hands. 
These portions, however, were preserved as 
relics. And, owing to St. Brigid s blessing 
it pleased the Almighty to accomplish mi 
racles, through the possession of these lig 
neous souvenirs. See Colgan s "Trias Thau- 
maturga." Quarta Vita S. Brigida;, lib. ii., 
cap. iii., p. 550. 

< 8 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, she is represented as being with 
her sheep, on the occasion when Neinidh 
was first introduced to her notice, pp. 31, 
32, and again as herding her sheep, when a 
thief stole seven of them from her, pp. 41,42. 

4 See an interesting paper on " The Cur 
ragh of Kildare," by William M. Hennessy, 
M.R.I. A., read February 26th, 1866, before 
the Royal Irish Academy. "Proceedings 
of the Royal Irish Academy," vol. ix., First 
Series, pp. 343 to 355. 

s This statement is inferred, from the 
circumstance of her employing reapers, and 
tending sheep. See Dr. Lanigan s "Ec 
clesiastical History of Ireland," vol. i., 
chap, viii., x., and nn. 120, 124, pp. 406, 
408. 

51 A representation of its door- way is 
given in Marcus Keane s "Towers and 
Temples of Ancient Ireland," p. 257. 

52 " An ancient cross stands in the church 
yard, and fragments of a second ; but, they 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 99 

founded there, has furnished a subject for discordant opinions." From what 
has been already stated, it would seem to be not altogether improbable, that 
it had an earlier origin, than most historians have very generally assumed. 
She may have commenced her buildings not very many years after A.D. 470. 
Sir James Ware** and Harris," (J Halloraiv* and Haverty?? refer the founda 
tion of her nunnery at Kildure to about the year 480. If we are to credit 
what appears to lie a purely legendary account, when St. Brigid brought 
Bishop Mel with her to draw out the plan of her city, Ailill, son of Dun- 
laing, was king over Leinstcr. It is also stated, that he fed the builders and 
paid their rightful wages. 5 8 Colgan was of opinion, that her convent might have 
been before or about the year 483. Archdall writes, that her nunnery was 
founded here before A.D. 484.5; About the latter year, John D Alton states, 60 
St. Brigid founded both the nunnery and monastery at Kildarc. However, 
the first institute had undoubtedly the precedence of several years over the 
latter establishment. The year 484 is the date given for St. Brigid s establish 
ment at Kildare, by William M. Hennessy, 61 and by Thomas James Rawson. 62 
Dr. Lanigan assigns it to about A.D. 487,^ or at least to before the year 
490. c + He says, that if we are to believe what is said about St. Brigid having 
foretold to llland, King of North Leinster, 6 5 that he should be victorious in 
his battles, one of which was that in which Aengus, King of Cashel, was 
killed, the house at Kildare must have been established before A.D. 490. 
For, she is spoken of as already settled there, and that was the year in which 
Aengus fell. 

The nunnery of Kildarc, at first humble in si/.e and pretensions, 66 and 
poorly endowed, in a great measure had been supported by eleemosynary 
contributions, brought by people living in the neighbourhood. But, by 
degrees, its reputation and the fame of its holy foundress became better 
established. Many pious ladies desired admission to this house, which, in a. 
short time, became inconveniently crowded. ? Soon there was a need for 



arc not very interesting specimens." //;/./., Lewis, precedes this account of Kildare by 

! 421. Mr. 1) Alton. 

"Trias Thaumaturga," Quarta 6l See " Proceedings of the Royal Irish 

VitaS. Brigida% n. 10, p. 565. Academy," vol. ix. First Series. Paper 

* Sec Ware, " I)e Hibernia, et Antiquita- " On the (Jurragh of Kildare," p. 349. 

tibusejus, Disquisitiones," cap. xxvi., p. 146. <".See " Statistical Survey of the County 

" See II arris \\are, vol. ii., " Amiqui- of Kildare," Introduction, p. x. 

ties of Ireland," chap, xxxviii., p. 209. 6 3 This is inferred by him, considering that 

There our saint is ranked among the ca- she had been in Minister, probably about 

nonesses of St. Augustine s order. the year 484, and had spent some time after- 

St. Bridget founded her famous mo- wards in Connaught, before she founded 

nastery in Kildare, A. u. 480, for which she Kildare. 

formed particular rules, and which was the 4 See " Ecclesiastical History of Ireland," 

head of her order." O Halloran s " Ge- vol. i., chap, viii., sec. x., p. 405. 

neral History of Ireland," vol. ii., chap, vi., ^ See n. 116, p. 407, ibid. 

P- 45; 66 Dr. Lanigan justly observes, that in 

^ See " The History of Ireland, Ancient the Fourth Lile of our saint, book ii., chap, 

and Modern," chap, ix., p. 79. 3, a distinction is made between the first 

5 ^Ihus runs the story in Professor O Loo- cell, which had been assigned her, imme- 

ney s Irish Life of St. Brigid. As a reward diately on arriving at Kildare, and the great 

the holy abbess said the race of Ailill, son monastery, which she afterwards found it 

of Dunlaing, should have the sovereignty necessary to build, in the same place. See 

for ever." pp. 33, 34. . Lcclesiastical History of Ireland," vol. i., 

See " Monasticon Hibernicum," p. 323. chap, viii., sec. x., and n. 126, pp. 406, 408. 

60 See his article in " The Irish Penny 6 ~ See the statement regarding a vast num- 

Magazme," vol. i., No. 35. Illustrations ber of her spiritual daughters contained in 

of Irish Topography, No. xxxv., p. 274. A Father Hugh Ward s " Dissertatio Historica 

spirited wood engraving of the Round de Patria S. Rumoldi," sec. 10, p. 186. 

Tower and Priory, from a sketch by F. R. Edited by Father Thomas O Sheerin, O.S.F, 



IC o LITE OF ST. BRIGID. 



enlarging the original buildings. 63 This concourse of devout women was 
not confined to our saint s native province ; but, as has been remarked, 6 ^ 
persons of both sexes came in great numbers, from all the provinces of _ Ire 
land to her monastery.? To those strangers arriving on temporary visits, 
she was accustomed to exercise the most liberal hospitality ; especially to 
wards church dignitaries and religious, who came to confer with her on 
matters of religious concern. Numbers of persons, in the higher walks of 
life, sought her advice, and felt honoured by her notice. These individuals 
never applied for the favour of her prayers, without obtaining a compliance 
with their requests. Having, in due course of time laid foundations for a 
large monastery, she proceeded with the work of its erection ; in which ui> 
clertaking, we may suppose, she met the willing co-operation and assistance ot 
the Leinster king and neighbouring people, who loved and revered this 
noble virgin for her extraordinary virtues and merits. When completed, this 
cocnobnim furnished accommodation to several pious females, living under 
her rule. Afterwards, it became the parent nunnery of many houses, already 
established by her, and subsequently built throughout our island.? 1 It 
would seem, that soon after the erection of her first monastery at Kildare, 
Crimthann, King of Leinster, died, and obtained the rites of sepulture in or 
near it.? 2 

Numbers of infirm and poor flocked to Kildare, seeking relief from their 
various necessities ; and many anecdotes are related, regarding the charities 
of St. Brigid, especially towards this forlorn class of persons. With the course 
of time, several houses began to appear around her religious establishment, 
as it became necessary to provide for the necessities of those, who came from 
a distance, or, who were brought from more immediate districts, to assist at 
the pious exercises and public celebrations of her conventual institute. By 
degrees, from being merely a village, Kildare became a very considerable 
town ; and, at length, its habitations extended in number and size, so that it 
ranked as a city, at a period somewhat later.?3 St. Brigid traced out a line 
of demarkation, likewise, around the city, within which boundary refuge was 
to be obtained, by any fugitive ; and, his claim to protection was consequently 
allowed, by all those, who respected the ordinances and memory of their illus- 

68 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s " Lives of that she was called Hibernice Domina, as we 

the Saints," vol. ii., February 1st, p. 17. find her styled in the Fifth Life (cap. iii.) 

6 By Cogitosus. And in the Rythm of St. Columba, com- 

7 Le Comte de Montalembert observes, posed in praise of her, she is called Regma. 

" D innombrables couvents de femmes font See "Trias Thaumaturga." Anagraphse 

remonter leur or.gine a 1 abbesse de Kil- seu Epilogus Magnalium Sancta; Brigida. , 

dare." "Les Moines d Occident," tome ii., sec. xlvii., p. 639. 

liv. ix., chap, i., p. 463. ? 2 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

7 Such had been the reputation of St. Quarta Vita S. Brigida;. " Ft ipse mori- 

Brigid for eminent sanctity, that Abbot Jo- ens sepultus est apud S. Brigidam in suo 

annes de Bruxella or Mauburnus Livria- monasterio," lib. ii., cap. xii.,p. 552. Such 

cenis, in " Venatorio Canonicorum Regu- is the statement of the author supposed to 

larium," tells us, that a great number of be Animosus and he was well acquainted 

monasteries, and about thirteen thousand with the topography, history and traditions 

nuns, flourished underthisholy superior srule. of Kildare. 

So likewise, Benedictus Haeftenus cites this 73 "The reputation of her sanctity, and of 

authority, " Disquisition. Monasticarum," her power of working miracles, made Kil- 

lib. i., tract 6, disqu. 3. Colgan thinks we dare so much frequented, that the many 

must here understand, that if our saint pre- buildings erected about the nunnery, during 

sided over so many nuns, she must have go- her life formed a town ; which in time be- 

verned them, not in one house, but in dif- came so considerable as to be the place 

ferent monasteries, spread throughout Ire- of the Cathedral and of the Episcopal See." 

land, she being superior over all that ob- Warner s " Flistory of Ireland," vol. i., 

served the Rule, which she is said to have book vii., p. 321. 
written. Hence, it must have happened, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 101 



trious civic foundress. 74 It is also remarked, that Kildare was the metropolitan 
see of Leinster, at two different periods. In the first instance, while St. 
Brigid lived, in that city ; yet, afterwards during the time of Brandubh, King 
of Leinster, and about the year 578, the archiepiscopate is said to have been 
transferred to Ferns. 75 It is uncertain, when it had been removed from the 
latter place ; but, it is supposed to be sufficiently established as a fact, that 
its withdrawal from Ferns did not occur until after St. Moling s death,? 6 in 
the year 696.77 Again, it is assumed, that this dignity had been restored to 
Kildare. before A.D. 1097, according to testimonies derived from our national 
Annals. 7 s It has been inferred, 79 likewise, that the author of St. Brigid s 
Fourth Life must have flourished, while Kildare was a metropolitan see 
not, however, at the first, but during the latter period. For, he adopts a 
common opinion, that the bodies of Saints Brigid, Columkille and Patrick 
were deposited in a common tomb, at Down, in Ulster. 80 

Soon did the people living around her convent begin to experience the 
protection afforded by Brigid s presence among them. On the eve of a 
certain solemnity, while she lived in the "Cell of the Oak, "" 1 a certain young 
maiden, who appears to have been her prctc^e, brought an offering for her 
patroness. On presenting this gift, the maiden remarked, that she should 
be obliged to return home immediately, to take charge of her parents house 
and flocks. Her father and mother desired to spend that holy vigil at Kil 
dare. The abbess told their daughter to remain, and that her parents should 
come after her, while the Almighty would protect their temporal substance. 
According to St. Brigid s prediction, the maiden s parents followed her, and 
together all the family celebrated this festival. Sj However, certain thieves, 
taking advantage of their absence, came in the middle of the night and stole 
away their cattle. These they drove towards the Liffey. This river was 
found to have been so greatly swollen, that the water flowed over its banks. 
The robbers laboured in vain, during a great part of the night, to urge the 
terrified cattle through this flood. Then, taking off their garments, which 
with other effects they tied with cords to the horns of the cattle, those free- 



74 See Cogitosus, " Vita S. Brigidffi," cap. Mac-an-tsaeir Ua Brolchain,a1earned doctor, 

xiv. Bishop of Kildare and of Leinster, tiled. 

73 For such statements, Colgan refers to And, at the year 1 1 10, departed "Feardom- 

Cogitosus, in his 1 iologue to the Life of St. hnaeh, the most distinguished of the senior 

Brigid ; also to chap. 30 of the same Life ; jurisconsults, [and] lector of Cill clara." 

and to his own affixed notes I, 18 ; to Ussher See O Donovan s "Annals of the Four 

in his " 1 rimonlia Ecclcsiarum Briianni- Masters, 1 vol. ii., pp. 954, 955, 9&S, 9&9- 

carum," cap. xvii., p. 965 ; and to the This latter appears to have been successor 

author of bt. Brigid s Fourth Life, lib. ii., to the former in the see of Kildare ; for, in 

cap. 3. Ussher s " Yeterum Epistolarum Hiberni- 

" It appears, from the Life of St. Moling, c.mim Sylloge, " epist. 34. we find the name 

whose festival occurs at the ijth of June, Ferdomnachus Episcopus Lageniensium 

that this saint had been constituted Arch- subscribed to an epistle, written by the 

bishop of Leinster, in the see of Ferns, by people of \\aterford to Anslem, Archbishop 

Brandubh, son of Eathach, King of Leinster. of Canterbury. See pp. 91 1093. 

77 According to the " . .:/.ials of the Four 7 liy Colgnn. 

Masters," St. Maedhog, first bishop of 8j See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

Ferns, died A.D. 624 ; St. Dachu Luachra, Vita Cjuarta S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. xxx., 

Abbot of Ferns, died A.D. 652; Tuenog, xcix., pp. 554, 562, 563, and nn. 13, 14, 

Abbot of Ferns, died 662 ; Maeldoghar, pp. 565, 566, ibid. 

Bishop of Ferns, died 676 ; Diraith, Bishop 8l This is the English nomenclature of the 

of Ferns, died 690 ; and St. Moling Luachra, Latinized Kildaria, and Cill Dara, in Irish. 

Bishop of Ferns, died 696. See O Dono- Ceall or Kill signifies "a ceil," and Dara, 

van s Edition, vol. i., pp. 246 to 249, 264, "the oak," or its genitive case "of the 

265, 272, 273, 284, 2i>5, 294, 295, 298, oak." 

299. "^ See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of 

78 At 1097, we read, that Maelbrighde the Saints," vol. ii., February 1st, p. 19. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



hooters intended to swim across the river, when the animals should be 
urged into its waters. The cattle directed their course towards St. Brigid s 
monastery, instead of that place, whither it had been intended to drive 
them. 83 The robbers followed after hoping to secure their prey. To the 
great confusion of these thieves, at day-break their guilt was manifested to 
many, who knew them personally. They made an humble confession of 
their sins, however, in Kildare, at the instance of St. Brigid. 84 The owners 
of the herd drove their cattle homewards, and thus, according to our saint s 
prophecy, their substance was preserved ; while both the perpetrators of and 
sufferers from an intended injury acknowledged the interposition of Divine 
Providence, in such a remarkable incident. 85 

Again, on the eve of a festival, a girl brought alms to St. Brigid. De 
livering her gift, she said, it would be necessary to return towards her home, 
as her foster-father, an old and a paralytic man, had been left alone, nor had 
he any person to care the house or milk his cows. Brigid counselled her to 
remain there, however, for that night. Her visitor did so, and returned 
home on the following day, after having received Holy Eucharist. The 
cows and calves were found feeding apart in the fields, nor did the former 
seem to suffer in the least degree, as a consequence of their not having been 
milked. The old man acknowledged, likewise, that during the night his 
foster-daughter dwelt with our saint, the cattle continued to feed on their 
pasturage, while he remained awake the whole time since her departure. 86 
This did not seem to extend beyond the interval of a single hour. It was 
a mystery, only known to the Almighty, who had thus miraculously disposed 
the result. 8 ? 

On a particular day, certain insolent and idle ruffians approached our 
saint. _ Wearing diabolical badges on their heads, they intended the death of 
a particular person. These miscreants asked it is probable in mockery 
a blessing from Brigid, and she, in her turn, requested them to put away their 
emblems. This, however, they refused to do. Seeing the form of badge 
adopted, our pious abbess was shocked ; nevertheless, she marked them with 
a sign of the cross, not for the purpose of blessing them, but to counteract 
those designs entertained against their fellow-creatures. The ruffians de 
parted with their brutal instincts aroused. Finding a poor man on their 
way, they attacked, murdered, and afterwards, as they thought, beheaded 
him. However, this turned out to be their phantasy, for that man escaped 
unhurt and through the midst of his enemies until he reached his own house. 
After a close investigation, these persecutors found neither his head, nor 
body, nor any traces of blood. Wherefore they said to each other": " A 

3 This account is contained in Professor Vita S. Brigidze, sec. 27, p. 516 Sccunda 

) Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 27, Vita S. Brigiclrc, cap. xvii., p. 520, ibid. 

80 When relating this occurrence, in his 

Ihe foregoing narrative is very circum- usual manner, Abbate D. Giacomo Certani 

Stantially detailed 11^ Abbate D. Giacomo compares the paralytic to those Northern 

Certani s La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di people, mentioned by Olaus lib. ii cap 

S. Bngida Ibernese. Libro Quarto, pp. 14, and whose eyes are accommodated to 

see throughout the night. See " La Santita 

-See Colgans Trias Thaumaturga." Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." 

Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. iv., Libro Quarto, pp. 279, 280 

PP-.SSo, 551- Vita Tertia S. Brigidce, cap. s 7 See C olgan s "Trias" Thaumatur-a." 

xlvn. pp. 531, 532, ibid. Scxta Vita S. Quarta Vita S. Brigids, lib. ii , cap v p 

Brigidse, sect, xxxvi p. 589, ibid. It is 551. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. 

likely enough, from the similarity of most xlviii., p. 552, ibid. In the Metrical Life, 

circumstances narrated, that the foregoing we are told, that the sun seemed to shine 

narrative is only a different version of what without cessation, during the whole time of 

of w F ^ U i ^ mt S , a i CtS y the aUth rS this S irl>s absence from home. See Sexta 
)f her J irst and Second Lives. See Prima Vita S. Brigicte, sect, xxxvii., p. 590. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 103 



miracle hath taken place, through the providence of God, and St. Brigid s 
merits, for we have not killed this man, although the contrary seemed to 
be the case/ For a long time, the celebrity of this circumstance was noised 
about through that part of the country. Those vagabonds afterwards laid 
aside their emblems, and united in praising the Almighty, while magnifying 
St. Brigid s extraordinary prerogatives. 53 The foregoing events, as related, 8 ^ 
apparently occurred before St. Brigid took her journey into Minister with 
Bishop Ere of Slane y and therefore, we may deem it sufficiently probable, 
she had been living at Kiklare, antecedent to tin s excursion. 

The social relations of men were often disturbed by violence and treachery 
at that early period. A chieftain, who lived in the plain of the Liffey. came 
towards our saint, asking her blessing. This the holy virgin specially be 
stowed on him. With great joy, the chief returned to his castle. But during 
the night, a daring and hostile man entered the fort, while its occupants 
were asleep. Taking a light from its candlestick. 1 he sought the slumbering 
chieftain. lie was found with a sword, laid on the pillow, beside him. 
Seizing this sword of the chieftain, his enemy plunged it with great force 
three several times, as he thought, into the owner s heart, and afterwards he 
lied. The castle inmates aroused soon discovered what had taken place. 
They sent forth loud cries and lamentations, supposing their chief had been 
slain. The latter, however, seemed to awaken as it were from sleep, and it 
was found the wound he received was not of a dangerous character. He 
consoled his friends by saying : " Cease your lamentations, for St. Brigid s 
blessing, which I obtained to-day, hath preserved me from this great danger." 
The chieftain, to manifest his gratitude for that miraculous escape, visited St. 
Brigid. thanking her and offering her valuable presents, on the following day. 
Our saint established peace, afterwards, between the chief and that enemy, 
who sought his life, as also among their posterity. This too was continued 
for an indefinite period/ 2 Thus her mediation, through God s blessing, was 
both effective and lasting. Can we doubt, therefore, as her protection over 
her people was so powerful on earth, that it will be less exercised in heaven, 
on behalf of those, who devoutly invoke her vigilant advocacy ? Too fre 
quently, alas ! do we forget the powerful assistance our great national saints 
can render us before the throne of God. 

E3 See Colon s "Trias Thaumaturga." and died A. n. 514." Sir William Robert 

Vita Quarta S. Brigidu. , lib. ii., cap. xl., "Wilde s "Beauties of the Boyne, and its 

p. 556. From the manner in which this Tributary, the Blackwater," chap, vii., p. 

same occurrence is related, in our saint s 175. 

Third Life, it would seem, that these dia- > In these, and like incidental notices, 
bolical emblems subjected the bearers to we have some idea given regarding the do- 
certain unchristian engagements or incanta- mcstic economy of our ancestors, at least, at 
lions. The signs, borne by those vagrants, the period, in which those documents relat- 
in all probability, represented obscene or ing to ancient usages were composed, 
monstrous figures, typifying certain hea- - - See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
thenish superstitions. See Vila Tertia S. Vita Quarta S. Brigidie, lib. ii., cap. xli., 
Brigid;*!, cap. Ixix.. and n. 41, pp. 535, 544, p. 556. Our saint s Third Life states, thai 
ibid. I rather think this i-> the miracle al- the chief was accompanied by some women 
hided to, in St. Brigid s First Life, section probably members of his family and a re- 
xxxiii., and in her Second Life, cap. xxiii. tinue, when he visited St. Brigid. It would 
Colgan refers ihese lalter accounts to ihe seem, that ihc castle in which he slept was 
performance of a miracle, somewhat similar not h!s own, as it is said to have been situ- 
in details. ated on ihe road to his own domicile. See 

89 In the Third and Fourlh Lives of the Vita Terlia S. Brigida:, cap. Ixx., p. 535, 
saint ibid. 

90 Ere "was consecrated by St. Patrick, 



104 LIPE OF ST. 13 RIG ID. 



CHAPTER VII. 

ST. BRIGID S INTIMACY WITH ST. PATRICK ARMAGH FOUNDATION OF ST. BRIGID 
THERE HER MIRACLES VISION REGARDING ST. PATRICK S LAST RESTING-PLACE 
HKR SPIRIT OF Sl HLIME RECOLLECTION AND HER GREAT CHARITY SHE DESIRES 
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE ROMAN RITE FOR IRELAND. 

ALTHOUGH some doubts have been expressed, that St. Brigid could have 
taken a very distinguished part in Irish Church affairs, during the lifetime of 
our venerable Apostle ; yet, to us, it seems perfectly reconcileable, not only 
with our early narratives, but with received chronology, that the glorious 
daughter of Krin might have had interviews with her illustrious director, both 
before and after the time of her foundation at Kildare. To determine ex 
actly dates for the following written incidents is, however, a matter of great 
difficulty. We must endeavour conjecturally to place them in their order of 
occurrence, so far as probabilities will allow us to continue. Perhaps, the 
arrangement, with better lights of view, might admit of various alterations 
or adaptations. After certain miraculous occurrences, related in her acts, 
took place the date or locality unnoted it is said our saint went towards 
the northern part of Ireland, accompanied by St. Patrick. 1 On a certain 
day, while the great Irish Apostle in the plain of Lemhuin 2 preached God s 
holy word from a hill 3 to the people there, at a place called Finnabhair, 4 or 
"the white field," St. Brigid slept. She was probably very young at this time. 
After his sermon had been concluded, 5 St. Patrick asked her why she had 
fallen asleep while the sacred word of God was announced. 6 Then the 
humble virgin, on her knees, asked his pardon. She said : " O lather, for 
give me ; O most pious Lord, spare me, for during this hour, I have had a 
vision." The illustrious missionary desired her to tell what she had seen. 
Whereupon, the devout virgin announced : " I, your servant, have beheld 
four ploughs, ploughing the whole of Ireland, while sowers were scattering 
seed. 7 This latter immediately sprung up and began to ripen, when rivulets 
of fresh milk filled the furrows, while the sowers themselves were clothed in 
white garments. After this, I saw others plough, and those who ploughed 
appeared black. 8 They destroyed, with their plough-shares, the growing 

CHAPTER vn. r See Colgan s "Trias 150, and n. n, p. 184. 

Thaumaturga," Tertia Vita S. Brigidiu, 5 The Acts of St. Patrick relate, that this 

cap. Iv-ii., p. 533. (juarta Vita S. .LSrigidaj, sermon lasted three days and three nights, 

lib. ii., cap. xxvii., pp. 553, 554. a t the hill of Finnabhair at Lemhuin. It 

2 The fort of Aughur and the village of was in the comity of Tyrone and d occ>c of 
Ballygawley are in it. Clogher lay on its Clogher. The River Blackwater ran through 
western and the church of Errigle-Keeroge it. Finnabhair is now corruptly called Fin- 
on its northern boundary. Its other name, dermore, a townlaml in the parish and ba- 
Clossach, is frequently mentioned in O Mel- rony of Clogher. See " Ordnance Survey 
lan s Irish "Journal of the Wars of 1641 ;" Townland Maps for the County of Tyrone," 
in Colton s "Visitation," p. 126; in the Sheets 58, 64. 

"Book of Rights," p. 152 ; in the "Irish 6 To Brigid, it is said, the time of the 

Topographical Poems 1 of O Dugan and sermon did not seem to be more than one 

O Huidhrin, p. xxi., n. (119). See Miss hour. 

M. F. Cusack s "Life of St. Patrick, ? In the Sixth Metrical Life of St. Brigid, 

Apostle of Ireland," p. 451, n . 2. it is stated, the white sowers came from the 

3 So the Seventh Life of St. Patrick East. 

states - 8 In her Sixth Metrical Life, in Colgan s 

See Colgans "Trias Thaumaturga," " Trias Thaumaturga," St. Brigid is made 

Joceline s or Sexta \ ita S. Patricii, cap. to say : 

xcvi., pp. 86, 87, and n. 105, p. 113. This 

place was situated in the ancient territory of " ^ ons P exi populos septem de parte trionis, 

Liemania, sometimes called Magh-Lemna, Nigris cum bovibus venientes vultibus 

or Clossach, by others. See ibid., Septima atris." 

Vita S. Patricii, pars, iii., cap. iv., pp. 149, Sexta Vita S. Brigidce, sec. Ixv., p. 595. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



105 



corn and, they sowed tares, which filled the furrows. "9 The Irish Apostle 
then said to our saint : " O holy virgin, you have beheld a true and wonder 
ful vision. This is its interpretation. We are the good ploughers, who, 
with the shares of the four Gospels, cultivate human hearts, and sow God s 
words, while those rivers, containing the milk of Christian faith, proceed from 
our labours. But, towards the end of this world, bad teachers shall preach 
to depraved generations, who will receive them. 10 Those teachers 11 shall 
destroy our instructions, and shall seduce nearly the whole human race. 12 
Brigid also had a vision regarding the two sons of Eochaidh. 1 } son of Crim- 
thann,H at the same place. 1 * The elder of these, named Bressal, was re 
presented by the figure of a large stone, wasting away under falling showers ; 
while, the younger, Carbre, surnamed Damhairgid. was denoted by a smaller 
stone, which increased, and sent forth bright sparks, as the rain fell. 6 St. 
Patrick interpreted this to mean, that the rain represented the shower of 
celestial grace, falling in vain on the unbeliever IJress.iI, while, its dews, de 
scending on the believer Carbre, 1 ? signified an increase to him of blessings 
for the future. 1 Hereupon, those who were then present, with St. Patrick 
St. Brigid, praised Almighty God. y A synod had been convened at 
this place. - The degeneracy of Christian feelm- and practice, during sub 
sequent times, as also the efforts of heretical and false teachers to pervert the 



In the Acts of St. Patrick, \ve find the 
following additional particulars described in 
her vision : " And after that, I saw spotted 
and motley-coloured oxen, then \\ild and 
black animals. After these I saw sheep 
and swine and wolves and dogs contending 
with one another." See Rev. S. liaring- 
Gould s "Lives of the Saints," vol. ii., 
February I, p. 21. 

10 St. Patrick describes the evil teachers 
as 

" Pastores cupidi, qui plus sua lucra sc- 

quentur, 

Non irumcnta satis, sed lolia subdere 
sulcis 

Curaount," &c. 

Sec Vita Sexta S. Bright 1 , sec. Ixv., p. 
395- Colgan .-, "Trias Thaumaturga." This 
metrical account was suppl.ed Horn a MS. 
in the library ol his hmmenee Cardinal 
Antonio L arbermi, p. ie>02, being warning 
in the Monte Casino MS. 

11 They are called deludes and hypocrites 
in Professor O Looncy s Irish Life of St. 
lirigid, pp. 29, 30. 

The Rev. S. Haring-Gould, a clergyman 
of the Anglican Church, calls the foregoing 
a remarkable prophecy regarding " t! e 
miserable apostasy of the so-called Refor 
mation." " Lives of the Saints," vol. ii., 
February i, p. 21. 

IJ Eochaidh was prince of Oirgallia. Thus, 
Aubrey de Vere alludes to him, in the poem, 
" Saint Patrick and King Lochaidh" : 

" Eochaidh, son of Cruimther, reigned, a 

king 

Northward in Clochar." 
"Legends of St. Patrick," p. 149. 



H rimthann was son to Fieg, son of 
Deadad, son to Rochad, son of Colla Dach- 
rioch, according to the " Sanctilogic Ge 
nealogy, cliaj). xiii. 

" 1 saw subsequently two stones, one 
little and the other big. A drop was shed 
on each of them. The little stone increased 
at the drop, and silvery sparks burst 
from it. 1 he large stone withered, more 
over." These words of Hrigid, St. Patrick 
interpreted to mean Cairpre Damhairgit, 
who believed and wa> blessed with his seed, 
and Ilie-al, \\horefused to believe, when a 
malediction was pronounced against him. 
See .Miss Mary F. Cusack s "Life of St. 
Patrick, Apostle of Ireland,"]). 452. 

"See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 
Septima Vita S. Patricii, pars, iii., cap. vi., 
and n. 12, pp. 150, iS4. 

"Ainoi.g the posterity of Carbry, 
blessed by St. Patrick, we find enumerated 
there, St. Fnd;L-us of Aran, St. Fanchea, 
St. Teganu-,, St. Darenia, and St. Lochina, 
bisters to St. Liukeus, St. lieg Mac L>e, with 
many other saints. See Colgan s " Acta 
Sanctorum Ilibernia-," xxi. Martii, Ap- 
pendix ad \ itam S. Endu_-i, cap. iv., pp. 
713, 7 4- 

lc Unly the writer of St. Brigid s Sixth 

.ife mentions this vision of the saint in her 

Act-. See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

Vua Sexta S. Brigidx, sec. Ixvi., and n. 17, 

PP- 595. 59> 

l > See iliuf., Vita Quarta S. Brigidae, lib. 
ii., cap. xxvii., pp. 553, 554. Vita Tertia 
S. Brigidae, cap. hii., p. 533, ibij. 

" According to some accounts, St. Patrick 
is said to have held nearly sixty synods in 
Ireland. See Villaneuva s " Sancti Pa- 
tricii, Ibernorum Apostoli, Synodi, Ca- 
noiies, Opuscula," &c., pp. 7, 8. 



io6 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



minds and principles of the faithful in Ireland, 21 have been popularly be 
lieved to furnish the correct interpretation for this remarkable Brigitine 
vision. 

It is probable, Lemhuin and Finnabhair are the places alluded to, where 
St. Patrick and St. P>rigid, with their religious, are said to have been assem 
bled at a time the holy Apostle of Ireland did not cease giving instructions 
to the people, for three whole days and three nights. 22 The sun continued 
shining, as we are told ; however, during this protracted sermon, the auditors 
supposed, that not more than an hour had elapsed. One man only had a 
knowledge regarding what length of time had been spent in this place. On 
approaching, he asked the holy Bishop, why he had remained there for so 
long an interval. The Apostle asked him what time had elapsed, and was 
then told a duration, equal to three days and as many nights. Then said 
the holy father : " For forty days and nights, we should have remained here, 
had not a stranger warned us about our delay, nor should we have experi 
enced fatigue nor hunger, through the Divine clemency." Afterwards, St. 
Patrick and St. Brigid returned to their respective districts. 2 ^ Those are 
not specified ; but, it may be, St. Patrick proceeded on his missionary career 
through Ulster, while Brigid returned to her home or convent in Meath or 
Leinster. 24 

It is related, that Brigid visited Armagh, most probably after she had 
established her parent house at Kildare. She always desired the wise counsel 
of St. Patrick. 25 It may not be unlikely, this journey was undertaken at 
the special request of the Irish Apostle himself. He intended Armagh to be 
the seat of ecclesiastical rule ; and, here he is said to have built, not alone 
his cathedral church, 26 but likewise, several other religious houses. 2 ? What 
could be more desirable, than founding a holy institute, where his fervent 
female converts could find a happy retreat and a career of Christian useful 
ness ? Who could be chosen more capable of teaching nuns, both by word 
and example, than the zealous and energetic Abbess of Kildare ? 28 If we 
are to believe a modern compilation, St. Patrick founded Temple Brigid in 
this city of Armagh. 2 9 It seems more likely, that the Regies Brighde, or St. 
Bride s Church, if founded during his lifetime, had been also the joint con 
cern of St. Brigid, to accommodate some religious daughters, belonging to her 
order. Long after her decease, the coarbs of the Regies Brighde,3are men- 

21 See the foregoing narative produced in this place, A.D. 455, to St. Binen ; and that 
Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La Santita he died at Saul or Sabhal, A.D. 493. See 
Prodigiosa, Vitadi S. Brigida Ibernese." chap, i., pp. 82, 84, 85. 

Libro Quarto, pp. 323 to 326. -7 An inexact historical compiler affirms, 

22 See Abbate Giacomo Certani s "La that St. Patrick founded an abbey at Ar- 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida magh for regular Canons of St. Augustine s 
Ibernese." Libro Quarto, pp. 326, 327. order, in 445 or 457. See Sir Charles 

23 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Coote s " Statistical Survey of the County 
Vita Quarta S. Brigida;, lib. ii., cap. xxxiii. of Armagh," Appendix, p. 29. 

P-.S55- In the Third Life of our saint, ~ a We are informed, that "she was in- 

this sermon was preached, it is stated, at vited to come and form establishments in 

the request of St. Brigid. See Vita Tertia various districts." Rev. M. J. Brenan s 

S. Brigida , cap. Ixiii., p. 534. Ibid. " Lcclesiastical History of Ireland," chap. 

24 The foregoing incidents are probably iii., p. 51. 

referable to St. Brigid s earliest interviews 2 9 See Sir Charles Coote s "Statistical 

with St. Patrick. Survey of the County of Armagh," Ap- 

2 5See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an pendix, p. 30. 

Irish Priest, chap, vii., pp, 87, 88. 30 In Irish> ne5 te r fcpig-oe. This little 

James Stuart, A.B., who has published conventual church was outside the rath. Its 

Historical Memoirs of the City of Ar- situation is marked on the Map of the City 

magh states, that St. Patrick built a ca- of Armagh, constructed on J. Roque s 

idral and some other religious edifices Map of 1760, and R. Levingstone s Survey 

there, A.D. 445 ; that he held a synod there, of 1767, prefixed to the Eev. Wm. Reeves 

A.D. 448 ; that he resigned the bishopric of "Ancient Churches of Armagh," sec. v., 



LIFE OP ST. BRIGID. 



107 



tioned in our annals.3 1 Now St. Bride s shares its honours with a paddocks 
From the expression coarb, ^ or abbatial successor, we may conclude that, 
though small, it was a religious house which might have traced back its 
origin to the era of its reputed founder^ 4 In 1179, the Regies Brighde 
and the Teampull-na-Fearta^ escaped a wide-spread conflagration^ 6 which 
consumed the greater part of Armagh. 3? I n 1189, however, Armagh was 
burned from St. Brigid s cross to the Regies Brighde. 3 s The occupants of 
the nunnery here were possibly of St. Brigid s order, and observants of her 
rule, from the earliest period.-^ Two townlands belonging to it, at one time, 
paid a rental of four shillings a year. 40 Afterwards, these endowments seem 
to have been absorbed in some more powerful interest ; for, at the period of 
the suppression of religious houses, its sole possessions were the building 
and the surrounding premises, which occupied about one acre. 41 At the time 
of the dissolution 4 - it was a nunnery, and possibly a cell of Templefertagh ; for, 
in inquisitions and patents, both are coupled, and they have changed hands 
in company ever since. 4 -* The precincts of Temple-breed occupy an irregular 
space, situated to the south-east of the Protestant cathedral, at Armaghfand 
having frontage in the middle, at the south side of Castle-street. 4 " 4 The 
old Catholic chapel stands on the south-west bound, and the site of Temple- 
breed lies about thirty yards north-east of the near end of the chapel. 4 $ An 
ancient cemetery adjoined the nunnery. 46 The historian of Armagh cor 
rectly identifies Teampull na Fearta with the Dobbin holding; 4 ? yet, strange 
to say, elsewhere, he professes his inability to determine its position. 48 Like 



p. 25. Printed for the Author, Lu.sk : 
MDCCCI.X, small Svo. 

31 The " Annals of Ulster" ami " Annals 
of the Four Masters " record at A. 11,1085. 
the death of (Jormgeal Loighseach. See 
Dr. O Conor s " Reruin Hibernicaruin Scrip- 
tores," tomus iii., p. 648, and tomus iv. p. 
350. In the former Annals, the Latinized 
rendering is " Vicaria Ecclesi;e S. lirigid^u 
in Ardmacha, sapiens intelligentia et pie- 
tate." In the " Annals of the Four Mas 
ters," "(iormgalus Lagi>ien>is Yicariu> Lc- 
cleMiv Brigidiu in Ardmacha, sapiens sci- 
entia ct religione. " 

3 - See Rev. "William Reeves "Ancient 
Churches of Armagh," p. ^. 

33 The word coarb is applied to the suc 
cessor or representative of the patron saint, 
or original founder of a monastery, priory, 
or any ecclesiastical establishment, or to the 
successor of a bishop. See Owen Connel- 
lan s and Philip MacDermott s "Annals of 
Ireland, translated from the original Irish 
of the Four Masters," n. 2, p. i. 

34 See Rev. Dr. Reeves "Ancient 
Churches of Armagh," sec. v., p. 25. 

35 This is represented as having been the 
present Scotch-street, supposed by Dr. 
Reeves to have been called Templefartagh- 
street in the time of King Charles II. See 
ibid., sec. i., p. n. 

36 See Rev. Robert King s "Memoir in 
troductory to the early History of the Pri 
macy of Armagh," p. m. 

3 ? Probably on account of their position 
outside the rath, and the densely-occupied 
portion of the town. 

38 See Ur. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. iii., pp. 84, 85. 



-"See Rev. William Reeves "Ancient 
hurches of Armagh," see. i., p. 10. 

According to Primate Dowdall s Re 
gister of the See of Armagh. 

41 An inquisition of 1612, finds that this 
was a nunnery. Ultonia Imp Armagh, No. 
3, James I. 

4 - Then it was occupied by a singer, or 
"cantator," who resided in said monastery, 
place, or house, called Templebreed. 

4) l!oth lots, known as the two Abbey 
Courts, or the Karl of Anglesey s Liberty, 
were assigned by lease in 1799, and this 
was converted into fee by the late Leonard 

Dobbin, Fsq. 

44 The nunnery enclosure extended back 
wards down the slope, south and south-east, 
to near, but not touching, Thomas-street. 

45 On the Castle-street frontage of St. 
Brigid s ground -tood the old castellated house 
which gave name to the street. It was an 
ciently called Port-Rath or Rath-Armagh, 
and occasionally Rathene. See Stuart s 
" I li.storical Memoir of the City of Armagh," 
chap, v., p. 144. 

-^ See the "Dublin Penny Journal," for 
notice of an ancient bronze se al belonging 
to a former Dean of Armagh, vol. ii.^ pt 
112. This communication of the late John 
Corry, the truest antiquary Armagh ever 
produced, is accompanied by an illustration. 
The seal was found on the site of Temple 
Brigid. 

v See " Historical Memoirs of the City 
of Armagh," chap, xxvi., pp. 511,512,514. 

48 Seez<W., chap, i., pp. 83, 87, and in 
the Appendices vi. and vii. Stuart conjec 
tures, that it was at an old abbey, used as a 
cemetery in the early part of the last cen- 



io8 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



many other cathedral cities, Armagh sprung up and extended around its 
minster church. It likewise grew by degrees into beauty of design and 
appearance. 49 Incomparably fine and picturesque views of it are furnished 




City of Armagh, from the East. 

at every point of approach ; hills and valleys and rushing streams give va 
riety and interest to each of its suburbs. 

The ready resources of true charity, as exercised on behalf of our neigh 
bour, are ever versatile, and applicable towards objects and conditions, 
which call forth their exercise by cloistered religious. One day, a poor 
leper came to our saint, entreating permission to have his garments washed 
at her establishment. It is probable, that some public provision had been 
there made. Brigid compassionately assented to the leper s request, and 
when told by the afflicted pauper, that he had no other garments for a 
change, while what he wore should be washed and dried, our holy abbess 
directed one of her nuns to present him with her second habit, which she 
was not obliged to wear. Having a very natural objection to give her 
clothes to a man, labouring under so loathsome a disease, that nun could 
hardly bear such a proposal. She was immediately struck with leprosy, 50 
for her disobedience, and she continued in this state for the lapse of an hour. 
Then, indeed, she repented on account of her refusal. Through the prayers 
of St. Brigid, how r ever, she was soon^leansed from this infectious disease. 51 



tury, and that it was situated within the 
Protestant Primate s demesne. See p. 598. 
49 The annexed view, from a photograph 
by Frederick W. Mares, Dublin, was drawn 
on the wood by William F. Wakeman, and 
engraved by George A. Ilanlon. On a high 
hill to the right is the new Catholic cathe 
dral, with its double flanking towers and 
spires. The Protestant cathedral, with its 
square tower, occupies a high hill in the 



centre of the city. 

50 The Sixth Life of our saint says : 

Virgineamque cutem percussit Candida 

lepra." 

Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," Sexta 
Vita IS. Brigidre, sec. Ixiii. , p. 596. 

51 The leprosy of cold climates seems to 
be a local disease of the cutis, its vessels 



LII E OF ST. BRIG ID. 109 



One of the other nuns, with more charity, had already presented the poor 
man with a garment, whilst all the community acknowledged the justice of 
God s judgment on their now penitent sister. When the poor leper had 
resumed his own attire, the holy abbess procured for him, likewise, the 
blessing of a release from his miserable condition. Her sisters gave thanks 
to God, on witnessing these manifestations of His Almighty power. The 
holy abbess and her nuns dwelt in a particular cell, in that part of the 
country, where the foregoing occurrences took place. One night, during 
Lenten time, eight daring thieves came to steal four horses, which belonged 
to the community. A nun, who remained awake at that time, announced to 
our saint this robbery which had been perpetrated. The abbess said : " Be 
it so ; I already know it, but there will be found others, more powerful than 
we are, who may retaliate. On departing with their prey, those robbers 
went towards the house of a peasant or farmer, from whom they took forty 
measures of corn. These were put on the four horses and on their own 
shoulders. Afterwards, they proceeded, as they thought, to their homes. 
Yet, the Almighty had decreed, that the thieves should retrace their course 
towards that granary belonging to the nuns. Having deposited their booty, 
they retired to rest in a corner of the barn. On the following morning, the 
persons, who had experienced a loss of their corn, setting out on the tracks 
of those thieves and of the previously-stolen horses, came in chase to St. 
Brigid s dwelling-place. They declared their reason for coming, and ex 
plained about certain indications, which led them to suppose, they had fol 
lowed in a right direction. They also requested our abbess to give them 
whatever iniormation she could furnish regarding this matter. The holy 
virgin then went to that granary, where she found the robbers sleeping. 
Having awakened them, she asked why they had dared to bring their booty 
thither, when they replied, in fear and amazement, that they had been under 
an impression they returned to and slept in their own homes. 52 Attenvards, 
St. Brigid sent a message to St. Patrick, who was not far distant from that 
place, with a request that he would come and release those robbers. The 
holy prelate immediately came to our saint. Having ransomed them, they 
repented, and sought to atone for their crimes, by offering that corn they 
had taken to St. Brigid and to her nuns, being convinced, such restitution 
should be acceptable to God. 5J By the occurrence of this miracle, St. 
Brigid s fame was greatly diffused, through this particular district of country.s* 
While St. Brigid, with some of her nuns, was one day seated near Armagh 
city, two men approached, bearing water in an uncovered wooden vessel. 55 
On coming towards the holy abbess, they entreated her to bless this water. 
With their request she complied, and she also blessed themselves, at the 



and glands ; but, it is much more virulent trated. See Vita Tertia S. Brigidce, cap. 
and contagious in warm climates. See ( lix., p. 533> Ibid. 

Dr. Robert Thomas Modern Practice of 5J We are not informed, whether our 

Physic," &c. Article, Lepra or Leprosy, saint received this offering, which she could 

PP- 7 2 9> 730- London: 1834. <Svo. Tenth only have accepted rightiully, with consent 

edition. of the real owner of the corn stolen. 

5 " See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," 4 It is probable, the unfinished portion of 

Vita Quarta S. Brigida. , lib. ii., cap. xxviii., our saint s Sixth Life, as found in the Bar- 

xxix., p. 554. In another of our saint s barini -MS., had reference also to this miracle, 

lives, it is said, that a deficiency of corn ex- See Vita Sexta S. Brigida;, sec. Ixv., p. 596. 

isted at the time of this rubbery, that the Ibid. 

grain taken had been winnowed, and in- 55 See Abbate Certani s " La Santita Pro 
tended for seed, and that the thieves en- digiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro 
tered, not a barn, but a small hut, to sleep Quinto, pp. 340, 341. 
there, after this robbery had been perpe- 



1IO LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



same time. Departing from her, it happened, that vessel containing water 
fell on its side, and not only did it remain unbroken, but not even one 
drop of its contents spilled through the aperture. 56 This remarkable cir 
cumstance was attributed to the efficacy of St. Brigid s prayers. When St. 
Patrick had been informed regarding such an occurrence, he ordered a part 
of the water contained in that vessel to be divided among particular 
churches about Armagh, 5 ? and to be used in the Eucharistic sacrifice. 58 
Another portion he desired should be sprinkled on the fields, to make them 
productive. M His orders were obeyed, and many, who had been benefited 
by this distribution, gave thanks to God and to his glorious servant, St. 
Brigid. 60 

A certain wealthy and good nobleman lived in the plain of Macha. 61 
He suffered greatly from disease and a pestilence, which baffled the skill of 
physicians. At last he sent to St. Brigid, requesting a visit from her ; and, 
while approaching the house, which she saw at a distance, our holy virgin 
declared, that from whatever quarter the wind blew, it should bring calamity 
and disease on the master of that dwelling. 62 When this was told the noble 
man, he was surprised, and declared he did not know why he should incur 
such a judgment, as he had done evil to no person. Then his herd re 
plied, by stating, it had been rumoured, that all wayfarers without exception 
were in the habit of cursing this nobleman, because he had allowed his 
husbandmen to enclose certain fields, with hedges, 63 which had the effect of 
making an adjoining highway impassable, owing to their thorny obstructions. 
When St. Brigid heard of this, she declared it was the cause of his misfor 
tune. Wherefore, that nobleman gave orders to restore the highway to its 
former unincumbered state. Afterwards, all passengers bestowed their bless 
ings on him. He was also relieved from his infirmities, through the prayers 
of St. Brigid, to whom, and to the Almighty, he offered humble acknow 
ledgments. 64 

To the pious abbess, among other gifts, was accorded the spirit of pro 
phecy. 65 We are told, while St. Patrick, on a certain day, preached the 

56 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of depressions and eminences, highly cultivated 

St. Brigid, it is said to have rolled from the and improved by art. 
door of the Rath to Lochlaphain, pp. 29,30. 6a This account, with his usual classical 

s ? And throughout Airthiria (Orior) is illustrations, is also to be found elaborated 

added in Professor O Looney s MS. Ibid. in Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La San- 

58 " Ut ad Eucharistiam sanguinis Christ! tita Procligiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- 
mitteretur," &c., are the words used in our nese." Libro Quinto, pp. 334 to 338. 
saint s Third and Fourth Lives. They show 3 This passage indicates early Irish agri- 
how early in Ireland was the practice of cultural improvements, in fencing landed 
mingling some drops of water with wine property. These probably, in many in- 
used at Mass, thus according with the pre- stances, should favourably compare with the 
sent Roman rite. present state of landed proprietors efforts 

59 \Ve are told, moreover, that it cured in Ireland. Much more should have been 
every disease and distemper that was in the done to trim hedges and secure fields in an 
country. Professor O Looney s Irish Life ornamental manner. By planting trees more 
of St. Brigid, pp. 29, 30. generally and by building commodious and 

60 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," handsome dwellings for farmers and cot- 
Vita Quart a S. Brigidte, lib. ii. , cap. xxxii., tiers, the natural features of our landscapes 
pp.554) 555- Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. might be rendered far more picturesque, 
Ixii., p. 534. Ibid. while social order and happiness should be 

61 In one reading, Colgan found in increased. 

campo Alanc/w, which he amends in the 64 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

following comment, "rcctius Macho." This Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. xxxL, 

was a plain extending round Armagh, called p. 554. Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. Ixi., 

in Irish, Magh, Madia, n. 34, p. 543. This p. 534. Ibid. 

plain now if it can be so called presents 6 s Bishop De Burgo s " Officia Propria 

charmingly diversified sylvan and pastoral Sanctorum Hibernian" In Festo S. Bri- 

prospects, with delightful rolling surfaces, gidas Ofncium, Lect. vi., p. 13. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



in 



word of God, in the province of Ulster, and while the pearl of Ireland 66 
formed one of a numerous concourse of persons present, the whole multi 
tude saw a cloud of surpassing brightness descending from the heavens to 
wards the earth. 67 This luminous meteor rested over a place, adjoining that 
in which the congregation had been assembled. Afterwards, this bright 
meteor drifted towards the citadel or Dun of Leathglass. 63 This remarkable 
Dun is still a prominent object near Downpatrick. 6 ^ Having continued 
there for a considerable time, it finally disappeared. The congregation pre- 



60 Thus is St. Brigid poetically styled by 



Jocelyn, who relates the>e incidents. See 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." Sexta 



Vita S. Patricii, eap. clxxxviii., elxxxix., p. 



67 The Abbate D. (".iacomo Certani thus 
writes: " Staua cgli mm liingi alia >ua 
Canonica Saballense discorrendo delle 
bcllezze del I aradiso, alle quali di gia s ap- 
prossimaua, quando si vide vn Globo grande 
di luminosissima luce fermar>i sul ciinitero, 
quc staua poeo huigi allaCitla di Duno. - 
La Santita Prodigio>a. \ ita di S. Urigida 
Iberne^e." Libro Ouarto, p. 328. 

Od " Ubi sepultus e>t ip>e Saiietus Patri- 
cius, IJe.Ua Urigida et reliqiue Ucati.-simi 
Abbatis (Jolumke po^ multos annos collo- 
cat.u in sepulchro," will be found inserted 
between bracket^, in the Fourth Life of St. 
Brigid, where an account of thc^e events 
is given. The >ite of the citadel here men 
tioned was known as Dun da leth-glas, by 
the ancient inhabitants of our inland, or as 
contracted into Dun, now Anglici/ed Down. 
In Latin it is called Diiintm. It is now a 
city and an episcopal see, in the eastern 
part of l l>tcr. At a period long subse 
quent to their several deaths, the relics of 
Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Columkille were 
preserved in Down. This incidental pas 
sage already quoted from the Fourth Life 
of our saint shows thai the writer of this 
treatise must have written it, subsequent to 
A.D. 823, when, according to Dr. O Dono- 
van s "Annals of the Four Masters," 
"Blathmac, son of Flann, received the 
crown of martyrdom, for he was killed by 
the foreigners at I Coluim-Cille," vol. i.. pp. 
436, 437- At that date, St. Columkilie s 
relics were kept at lona, off Albanian Sco 
tia s coast, as \Yalafrid Strabo, a contempo 
raneous writer, relates, in his account of St. 
Blathmac s martyrdom, in these lines : 

" Et reliquis rabida sociis feritate peremptis, 
Ad sanctum venere patrem, pretiosa nie- 

talla 

Redere cogentes, queis sancta Columbae 
Ossa jacent ; quam quippe suis de sedi- 

bus arcam 

Tollentes tumulo terra posuere cavato 
Cespite sub denso, gnari jam pestis ini- 

quae." 

At the time of St. Blathmaic s martyrdom, 



according to authors worthy of credit, the 
whole of liritain, and especially the He- 
bride--, .suffered from the frequent incur 
sions of Danes ami other Pagans, and for 
nearly two hundred years subsequently Dub 
lin had been occupied by the Northmen, 
A.D. 840, while they made frequent inroads 
into other parts of our island, especially 
upon I.einster, burning and devastating va 
rious places where they came. Kildare is 
mentioned, as having been spoiled by them, 
A.i>. 835, while Kethernus, prior in this 
city, with many others, had been put to 
death, A.D. 843. Wherefore, Colgan thinks 
it fair to conjecture, although he could not 
pronounce with certainty, that St. Brigid s 
sacred relic* had been transferred from Kil 
dare, while those of St. Columkillc had 
been removed from lona Inland to Down, 
before or about the middle of the ninth cen 
tury. This he considers a more probable 
opinion, because no other period for this 
translation can be pointed to as more op 
portune, and because, at that time, it is not 
a little remarkable, that one and the same 
abbot presided over the monasteries of Kil 
dare and lona, while it is probable, he con 
ceived a desire of having those sacred trea 
sures, which had been committed to his 
charge, removed to a safer place, owing to 
the frequently-recurring ravages of infidels. 
The Ulster province was then considered 
more secure than any other part of Ireland, 
as Xiall Cuille, King of Ireland, was sta 
tioned there, with his forces. At the year 
863, in Dr. U Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," it is recorded, that " Ceal- 
lach, son of Ailill, Abbot of Cill-dara, and 
the Abbot of la, died in Pictland," vol. i., 
pp. 500, 501. He appears to have suc 
ceeded Sedulius, Abbot of Kildare, who 
diecHn 828, since we read of no other Abbot 
of Kildare that lived there as an interme 
diary. This he undertook to prove in Ap 
pendix V. See " Trias Thaumaturga," 
Vita Tertia S. Brigida-, n. 30, p. 543. 
Also, Vita Quarta S. Brigida?, nn. 13, 14, 
PP- S^S. 566, ibid. Also, Dr. O Donovan s 
" Annals of the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 
460, 461, and nn. (f, g), pp. 452, 453, and 
n. (p), pp. 466, 467, with pp. 442, 443. 

^ The ancient Dun Keltair at this place 
is composed of three great earthen ramparts, 
with as many intervening trenches. These 
were covered with a growth of furze, briars, 



112 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



sent would not dare to inquire, from their venerated Apostle, the meaning of 
this portent ; but, they applied for a solution of it, from the holy virgin, 
Bri^id. She told them to ask their common father, St. Patrick, for an ex 
planation. The latter replied to her : " You and I are equals, therefore 
explain this mystery to the people/ 7 St. Brigid then spoke to the assem 
blage ; she told them, that apparition indicated St. Patrick s spirit, which 
went, as it were, before to visit the place where his body should be interred 
after his death. 7I " For," said she, " where this meteor first rested near us, 
there shall the body of our holy patron lie unburied for some days,? 2 and 
thence shall it be brought, and be interred in Leathglaisse Dun, 73 where it 
shall remain to the day ot judgment."^ Holy Patrick then requested our 
saint to make with her o\vn hands that shroud, in which his body should be 
wrapped after death, and he expressed a desire to arise from the grave, 
clothed with it, to receive his eternal reward. This request our holy virgin 
promised should be complied with, and she also predicted to St. Patrick, 
that he with herself and the celebrated St. Columkille, another. great Irish 
apostle, not then born, should arise for judgment, from this same tomb. 75 
The body of Ireland s illustrious Apostle was afterwards wrapped in that 
shroud then promised him by St. Brigid. On hearing this colloquy and pre 
diction, the crowd assembled praised Almighty God. 70 

Subsequently, as we are told, having obtained permission from the holy 
Archbishop Patrick for a return to her own part of the country, St. Brigid 
travelled over a plain called Breagh, within the Meathian territory. While 
she dwelt there at a certain cell, it would seem the wife, probably of Fer 
gus, 77 the son of Conall Crimthann, who was son to Niall, King ot Ireland,? 8 



sloe and hawthorn bushes, when visited by 
the writer in May, 1874. l ne whole is 
surrounded with marshy meadows, re 
claimed from the waters of Lough Strang- 
ford. 

7 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 
Irish Priest, chap, vii., p. 88. 

71 In a note, on this passage, Colgan ob 
serves, the meaning does not appear to be, 
that St. Patrick s soul, not yet departed 
from his body, actually came to the place 
of his future interment, but that the meteor 
represented it, and the place lor its future 
burial. See "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 
Tertia S. Brigidae, n. 32, p. 543. 

i- See ibid. Vita Quarta S. Brigidce, n. 
15, p. 566. 

At this present time, in the small and 
greatly crowded cemetery of Downpatrick, 
beside the old cathedral, a hole has been 
opened over one of the graves, which is 
supposed by the people to have been the 
spot, where St. Patrick s body had been in 
terred. Under this impression, the Catho 
lics of the town and neighbourhood fre 
quently remove small quantities of earth. 
Even pilgrims from the most distant parts 
of the world obtain portions, which they 
carry away as souvenirs of Ireland s great 
Apostle. 

74 The author of St. Patrick s Fourth 
Life appears to insinuate, in this particular 
place, what is asserted by Probus, in his 
Life of St. Patrick, lib. ii., and also by 



Joceline, cap. 189, viz., that St. Patrick died 
in the monastery of Saul, and that his body 
afterwards had been interred in the city of 
Down. Joceline also adds, cap. 193, that 
the Irish Apostle s body remained twelve 
days unburied at the former place, before it 
was brought to Down, on account of a con 
test that took place between the Armagh 
and Down people, who respectively con 
tended for the possession of his remains. 

? 5 See ibid., Vita Quarta S. Brigidae, lib. 
ii., cap. xxx., p. 554. Also, Vita Tertia S. 
Brigidos, cap. lx., pp. 533, 534. This latter 
chapter concludes the account regarding this 
linen shroud by an observation, "in loco 
constat." On this passage, Colgan has a 
note, where it is observed, that the author 
of the Third Life must have flourished at a 
very early period ; for, the linen shroud in 
question does not seem to have been in ex 
istence, for several ages, previous to the 
seventeenth century. Ibid., n. 33, p. 543. 

7a To these foregoing circumstances, some 
allusion seems to be made, and with a suffi 
cient amount of poetical licence, in Vita 
Sexta S. Brigidte, sees, xlvi., xlviii., pp. 
592, 593. Ibid. 

T> This son to King Conall, who is said 
to have dwelt in the plain of Breagh, and 
whose posterity had been addicted to vio 
lence and bloodshed, during a period they 
ruled over the kingdom, can be no other 
than Ferguss, surnamed Kerrbheoil. 

78 Niall the Great had two sons, both of 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



ir 



visited her, to entreat her intercession. The noble-born woman, in question, 
brought a silver vessel, as a gift for our saint. Brigid sent one of her nuns 
to wait upon that distinguished visitor, who stood without the door. For 
some cause, the holy abbess herself did not wish to appear." The nun 
soon returned, asking why her superioress would not see the queen and 
pray to God for her, that thus she might obtain the object desired by the 
royal visitor, and more especially, as the holy virgin had often asked for 
like favours, on behalf of peasants wives. The saint of God replied, that 
with few exceptions, the poor and rustics serve Almighty God, and pray to 
Him; whilst, only in few instances, is it found, that the children of km^s 
are not malicious, sons of blood, and libenmes. However, the queen 
appears to have obtained the favour she sought, through the intervention of 
our holy abbess. To her prayers is attributed the birth of Diermit, 80 son to 
Fergus, 81 and afterwards supreme Monarch of Ireland. 82 In granting her 
request, however, our saint told the nun, that the queen s posterity must 
needs be addicted to deeds of blood,hed, 8 3 and must incur malediction, even 
although they should reign for a lapse of years. 8 * The event corresponded 
with our saint s prediction.^ 

This illustrious abbess did not take her mind or her attention from our 
Lord, for the space of one hour at any time. She was constantly speakin" 
of Him, and she was ever thinking of Hun, as is evident from her own life, 
and also from the life of St. Brenainn, Bishop of Gluam-fearta. 86 She was 
very hospitable, likewise, and exceedingly charitable towards guests and 
needy people.^ Animated with this kindly and generous spirit towards her 
neighbour, she loved God to such a degree, that her mind was continually 
intent on His Divine perfections, and elevated by holy contemplation. One 



whom were called Conall or Conald ; but, 
to distinguish them, one was named Conall 
Crimthann, and the other Conall Gulban. 
In the time of St. Brigid, Conall Crimthann, 
with his progeny, ruled over the extensive 
territories ol Breagh and Mcath. Betore 
St. Brigid s birth or the arrival of St. Pa 
trick in Ireland, Conall (Julban acquired 
ample possessions in Ulster. From him, the 
district, called Tir-Connell, derived its 
name. 

H This account is also very fully related 
in Abbate D. Giacomo Certain s " La San- 
tita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- 
nese. " Libro Quinto, pp. 538 to 340. 

80 This Diermit had three sons, Aidus 
Slane, Colman, surnamed the Great, and 
Colman, the Less. The sons and posterity 
of these princes, contending for the sove 
reignty of Meath and of Ireland, engaged 
in devastating wars. In such internecine 
contests, the kings themselves were fre 
quently killed ; as lor instance, Suibhne, son 
to Colman the Less, was cut off by Aidus 
Slane ; and Conall, son to the same Aidus, 
was slain by ^inguss, son of Colman the 
Great ; Conall, son of the aforesaid Suibhne, 
was put to death by the same Aidus Slane ; 
while Moelumius and Colchus, two sons of 
^Enguss, son to Colman the Great, were 
killed by Diermit, son to Aidus Slane. 

81 In the present case, we must suppose 
Conall Crimthainn s son alluded to, as well 



because Ferguss, son of the last-named 
prince, then ruled over Breagh territory, 
while the sons of Conall Gulban reigned in 
Ultonia ; as also, because a son to this 
Ferguss was the famous Diermit, King of 
Ireland. 

8j When the writers of St. Brigid s Acts 
call the posterity of a child, born through 
her prayeis, bloody, they seem to have had 
reference to these and like disastrous issues. 
See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 
Tertia S. Brigida;, n. 36. pp. 543, 544. 

8j From the race of both Conalls issued 
many kings, not only over those provinces, 
which have been already alluded to, 
but who even were monarchs over all Ire 
land ; and, it may be observed, on account 
of many wars waged by them, in acquiring 
and defending their territories, they deserved 
to be called men of violence. 

84 See L. Tachet de Barneval s " Histoire 
Le gendaire de ITrlande," chap, vi., p. 57. 
85 See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. xxxiv., 
p. 555. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. 
Ixiv., p. 534. 

80 See "ActaSancti Brendani." Edited 
by Right Rev. Patrick F. Moran, D.D., 
Bishop of Ossory. Vita S. Brendani, cap. 
xvii., p. 17. 

87 See "The Martyrology of Donegal." 
Edited by Rev. Drs. Todd and Reeves, pp, 
34, 35- 

1 



114 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



day, a pious man came to that place, 83 where Brigid was accustomed to offer 
her private devotions, when he found her hands extended towards heaven, 
in prayer. 8 ? Our saint was so entranced in God s holy presence, that she 
seemed undisturbed, in the least degree, by shouts of certain neighbouring 
villagers, both men and women. These were engaged in driving away 
some calves from their dams. On seeing St. Brigid s attention thus wholly 
absorbed in the Divine presence, her devout visitor was not willing to disturb 
the course of her meditations. After the lapse of an hour, however, he 
returned, and said to her : " O Saint of God, have you not heard great out 
cries raised in the hamlet ?" She answered in the negative. Her interro 
gator then said : " What, therefore, hath become of thy hearing ? ;; St. Brigid 
replied : " As God is my witness, at the time you speak of, I heard and 
beheld Masses celebrated in the city of Rome,? and at the tombs of the 
Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul.? 1 I very much desire, likewise, that the 
whole Roman ritual and liturgy may be brought to me."? 2 Afterwards, St. 
Brigid sent prudent men to Rome,? 3 that thence these might bring the same 
masses and ecclesiastical rules.?* At Placentia?5 and elsewhere, she is said 
to have saved her messengers by miracles? 6 from impending death. The 
following legendary account, regarding this mission, is found in a commentary, 



88 It is assumed to have been in Kildare, 
by the Abbate Certani, although it may 
have been at some other place. 

8 9 This narrative is very fully set forth in 
Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La Santita 
Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." 
Libro Sesto, pp. 472 to 479. 

90 Colgan remarks, that her words could 
have been verified in a double manner : 
First, either by supposing St. Brigid to have 
been miraculously present, in the two dis 
tant cities of Rome and of Kildare if that 
be the place designated at one and the same 
time ; or, secondly, by remaining, in one 
place only, she could have seen in spirit 
what occurred, in the other distant city. lie 
adds, that either mode is possible, and that 
other instances are to be found, as in St. 
Anthony of Padua s Acts, which bear a re 
semblance to what is here related. See 
" Trias Thaumaturga," Tertia Vita S. Bri- 
gidae, n. 54, p. 544. 

91 The author of her metrical acts states, 
that she was not present at Rome bodily, 
but only saw by a mental illumination what 
took place in that city. He adds : 

" Ofncium sanctum placuit sibi semper ha- 

bendum, 
Unde sacerdotes Romam transmisit ad 

urbem, 
Sacra adferre nova et quodcumque audi- 

verat illic, 
Virginibus cupiens hsec trad ere lege pe- 

renni. 
Libros compositos, cantumque et munera 

multa 
Misit Apostolicus Brigidae, concessit ha- 

benda 

Tradidit illasuis, discendi vertit inusum," 
Sexta Vita S. Brigidse, sec. Ivi. p. 594. 
Ibid, 



92 The meaning of the Latin words, in 
our saint s lives, seems to indicate, that St. 
Brigid desired to conform entirely to the 
rites, ceremonies and constitutions of the 
Roman Church ; wherefore, the Ritual of 
Rome and the Roman order bear such a. sig 
nification. 

93 Colgan says, that in an Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, at chapter 50, and in an old MS., 
called by our antiquaries, " The Book of 
Hymns," in a commentary to a certain can 
ticle, composed in praise of St. Brigid, and 
in commentaries, affixed to the Martyrology 
of Marianus O Gorman, at the 1st of Feb 
ruary, there are various particulars given, 
regarding the legation of St. Brigid. 

94 See ibid. , Vita Quarta S. Brigidae, lib. 
ii., cap. xiv. , p. 552. Vita Tertia S. Bri- 
gidse, cap. xci., pp. 538, 539> ibid. In the 
latter life, to the account contained in the 
text, this following sentence is added : 
" Item dixit post aliquantum tempus Bri 
gida ad illos viros ; Ego sentio quod qui- 
dam commutaverunt in Roma missas post- 
quam venistis ab ea. Exite iterum. Et illi 
exierunt et detulerunt ut invenerunt." 

95 This was an ancient city of Italy. In 
the first century of the Christian era, Silius 
Italicus alludes to it, in this hexameter line: 

" Certavit Mutinse quassata Placentia 

bello." 

" Punicorum, " lib. viii., v. 593. It is 
now called Placenza, on the River Trebia, 
not far from the Po. A very interesting de 
scription of it may be found, in Rev. John 
Chetwode Eustace s "Classical Tour 
through Italy, An. MDCCCII.," vol. i., chap, 
vi., pp. 237 to 241. 

96 These Colgan did not think necessary 
to be related, in his own notes. See " Trias 
Thaumaturga," n. 55. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 115 

affixed to St. Angus ".Metrical Festilogy," at the ist of February. On a 
certain day, as she could not undertake the journey herself, St. Brigid sent 
seven of her disciples to RomcV? that they might bring from thence the 
Ordo of St. Peter, or the Roman Rite. But, on their return home, they en 
tirely forget what they had then learned. To whom St. Brigid addressed 
these words : " The Son of the Virgin knows, that however great your dili 
gence had been, it is altogether useless. - Again, she despatched seven 
other disciples, and with a like result. A third time, she sent other mes 
sengers, and joined with them a certain blind //v/<V6 of her own. The Al 
mighty had endowed this blind man with the singular faculty of retaining 
permanently in his recollection, whatsoever he heard. Being overtaken by 
a. storm in the Icciaiv or Tyrhene^ sea, they cast anchor. Aitenvards, being 
unable to raise it, the crew cast lots among themselves, to determine who 
should commit himself to the deep to loose its fastenings. Their lot fell 
upon the blind man already mentioned. On diving downwards, he appeared 
no more, until other sailors, driven by the same storm, cast anchor in this 
place. _ When they wound it upwards again, they observed this blind man 
ascending with their anchor, and bearing with him the Ecclesiastical Rite or 
Ordo, and a bell, atterwards called, Cloc an mic daill, or " bell of the blind 
son." At a time this legend was in vogue, it was believed, St. Brigid s fa 
mily had still possession ot this bell, 1 - and that they used a Ritual, called 
the _" Ordo Place-minus/"" Uuamt though the form of this legend may be, 
yet it probably shadows the substance of a conviction, that St. Brigid, like 
her beloved teacher St. Patrick, clung with fidelity and affection to the rites 
and practices of the Roman Church, the true fountain and centre of 
Christian union. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

ILLAND, THE WARRIOR PRINCE OF LEINSTER ST. BRIGID VISITS HER FATHER, DUB- 
TACH, AND PROTECTS HIS FAMILY I A\ OURS ACCORDED TO THE HOLY ABBESS 
SHE VISITS KING ILLAND AND BLESSES HIM THE VICTORIES OF THIS DYNAST 
OVER HIS ENEMIES THE BOKUMIIA LAIG HEAN WARS THROUGHOUT IRELAND 

DURING ST. BRIGID S LIFETIME DEATH OF KING ILLAND VICTORY OBTAINED 

AFTER HIS DEATH BY THE LAGENIANS, THROUGH THE SPECIAL PROTECTION OF 
ST. LRIGID. 

AGAIN must we regard St. Brigid as having returned to Leinster, where the chief 
actions of her religious life took place. Soon after the death of Crimthann, 1 

"Very numerous views of this city by conserua quel libro col campanello nel Mo- 

ranesi are engraved in R. Vcnuti s "Ac- nasterio Killdariense chiamandosi da tutti 

curata e Succinta Descrizione Tupografica e Cloe-an-Mic-Daill, cioe Campana del figlio 

Istonca di Roma Moderna," published in cieco. "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 

four 410 vols. Roma, A.D. 1760. 8. Urigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 478. 

1 he Iccius Portus of Ptolemy is sup- <" 1 lie account adds that Placentia was a 

posed to be Calais in Picardy ; so that the city near the Iccian, or more correctly the 

sea between that port of France and Dover is Tyrrhenian Sea.and that there St. Brigid was 

usually distinguished as the " Iccium Mare." venerated, See Colgan s " Trias 1 hauma- 

1 his was called by the ancients md if- turga," Appendix Secunda ad Acta S. Bri- 

ferently " Tuscum Mare, vel Tyrrhenuin, gid.e, cap. xliv., p. 608. 
quod et Infernum." It lies on the western CHAPTER vin. This warlike prince 

shore of Italy. See Wilkinson s "Atlas seems to have chiefly resided in Southern 

Classica. Map 24. Italia Antiqua. Leinster, for we are told, that he warred 

rhe Abb-ate Certani says: " Si con- with and subdued the Northern Leinster- 

seruo lunghissimo tempo, e forse ancora si men. After the death of Oilioll Molt, he 



Il6 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the son of Enna Kinscllagh, while Finnchadh, 2 and afterwards his son 
Fraech,3 ruled in that territory, the star of lolland or Illand* appears to 
have been in the ascendant, throughout the province. This enterprising 
hero was the son of Dunlaing,s who preceded him in the government, at 
least of its northern division. Illand and his brother Ailill 6 received bap 
tism at the hands of St. Patrick. 7 After St. Brigid had taken possession of 
Kildare, as may be inferred from accounts left us in her acts, that religious 
daughter paid a visit to the house of her father, Dubtach, after a long inter 
val of absence from her parents, 8 Her father and all her relatives greatly 
rejoiced at her arrival. No mention is made of her mother as then living.^ 
Dubtach earnestly desired her to remain that night under his roof. With 
this request she complied. During her sleep, an angel sent from God ap 
peared to her. Then awaking, she heard these words addressed to her : 
"Arise immediately, and arouse your father, with his whole family, and 
your religious daughters, now sleeping ; for, with an intention of murdering 
your father and his household, an enemy approaches. But, the Lord will 
prevent such intention, on your account. Depart instantly from this house, 
for the foe will soon set it on fire." Our saint obeyed this portentous man 
date, and warning the inmates, these fled. On approaching, their, enemy 
was greatly disappointed, not finding any of the family present. Dubtach 
and others, on seeing the house blazing at a distance, cried out : " holy 
Brigid, thy blessing hath preserved us this night from impending death. We 
are now conscious of all those wonderful things predicted concerning thee." 
Our saint replied : " Not only on this night, but so long as you live, blood 
shall not be shed within your dwelling." This prediction proved true on a 
subsequent occasion, for when a certain man intended to strike a woman 
there, his hand became stiff as he tried to extend it. Nor could he draw it 
back, until he had abandoned that wicked intention. 10 

The following day, one of her spiritual daughters said to our saint : " I 
pray, that the Angel of the Lord may always assist you, as he has done 

was even regarded as King of Ireland for Also, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Vita 

a time, if we are to credit a statement con- Quarta S. Brigidce, n. 5, p. 564. 

tained in the Vita S. Kierani, cap. xix., p. s Hence, he is usually called Illand, Mac 

460. See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hi- Dunlaing, or Illand, son of Dunking, in the 

berni;e,"v. Martii. Irish Annals. He seems to have commenced 

2 At the battle of Graine or Crane, in the his rule over Leinster, about A. n. 486. 
north of Kildare, this lord of Hy-Kinnsel- 6 Both brothers were probably very young 
lach fell, A.D. 480, according to Dr. O Do- men, when St. Patrick came to their father, 
novan s " Annals of the Four Masters," vol. Dunlaing, then living on the Dun, at Naas. 
i., pp. 150, 151. Eochaidh Mac Coirpre 7 When the Irish Apostle visited Naas, on 
was the victor, in this battle, which was his way to Minister. See Colgan s "Trias 
among the Lagenians themselves, A.D. 484, Thaumaturga," Tertia Vita S. Patricii, cap. 
according to the " Chronicum Scotorum, Iviii., p 25 and n. 5 2 > P- 3 2 - Also Septima 
edited by William M. Hennessy, pp. 30, 31. Vita S. Patricii, Pars iii., cap. xvi., p. 151. 

3 He fell, however, in the second battle of Also, Miss Mary F. Cusack s "Life of St. 
Graine, fought A.D. 492, Eochaidh, son of Patrick, Apostle of Ireland." The Irish 
Coirpre, being the victor. See " Chronicum Tripartite Life, translated by William M. 
Scotorum," edited by William M. Hennessy, Hennessy, part iii., p. 458. 

pp. 32, 33. 8 The following account is given, at great 

4 He is regarded as the fifth Christian king length, in Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s 
of Leinster. This would appear from a " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Bri- 
Catalogue of Kings, belonging to that pro- gida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 456 to 
vince. According to that catalogue, and 463. 

other authorities, he reigned 30 years. Thus 9 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

his death is found recorded : " The age of Irish Priest, chap, v., p. 58. 

Christ 506. The third year of Muirchear- I0 The foregoing accounts are also sub- 

tach. Illann, son of Dunlaing, King of Lein- stantially contained in the Vita Sexta S. 

ster, died." See O Donovan s " Annals of Brigidse, sec. liii., pp. 593, 594. "Trias 

the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 164, 165. Thaumaturga." 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 117 



during the past night, by the liberation of yourself, your father and his fa 
mily." To whom the spouse of Christ returned for answer : " Not only dur 
ing this night, but in every age, I shall have the Lord s assistance, in all things, 
through the ministry of His angels. 11 For daily do I experience a great joy 
of spirit, while I hear, through Divine inspiration, holy songs, 12 spiritual 
canticles, and strains of heavenly organs. 13 I am also able to hear every 
day those sacred Masses, which are offered in honour of the Almighty, in 
distant parts of the world, in like manner, as if I were present at their cele 
bration ; * while, the angels of God present my prayers to Heaven day and 
night. Wherever I am, the Lord ahvays hears me, as I will show by the 
two following incidents. 15 On a particular occasion, a certain woman, who 
was a leper and infirm, asked me to bring her water, and to perform some 
other charitable offices, in her necessities. Whereupon, I blessed the 
vessel, which was filled with water, and presented it, telling her to place 
that vessel between herself and the wall, so that no other person should be 
able to touch it, until her return. But, in my presence, the Angel of the 
Lord blessed that water, and it was turned into whatever kind of liquid that 
leper desired ; thus, it had the taste of honey, when this was wished for, and 
again the taste of wine, of beer, of milk, or of any other liquid, that infirm woman 
especially required. Again, when I was a little girl, I fashioned an altar-stone 
in honour of my God, yet with child-like intent. Then, an Angel of the 
Almighty, in my presence, perforated the stone at its four angles, and placed 
at each of them four wooden feet. 6 That you may glorify our Lord Jesus 
Christ, I have mentioned, O daughter, these two interpositions of my Angel 
Guardian. Thus, the grace of God hath always continued with me." 1 ? 

Already had the saintly daughter secured the respect of her dynast so 
vereign and protector Illand, ld son of Dunlaing. During this visit of the 
Brigid, her father Dubtach said to her : U pious maid, go to our king, and 
ask him to give me as a valuable and perpetual gift, that sword which he lent 
me for a time. "-? In compliance with the request of her father, the dutiful 
Brigid set out on a visit to the Leinster king, who then dwelt in the plain 
of the Liffcy. 10 When our saint rested betore the gate of the regal city, 

11 See " The Life of St. Brigid," by an lunque parte del Cattolico Mondo." "La 

Iri.-,li Priest, chap. v. , pp. 59, oo. Sanlita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- 

l J In the Vita Sexta S. Brigidse, sec. li., ne^e, " Libro Sesto, p. 464. 

P- 593. "Trias Thaumaturga," we have 5 The visit to (Jonnaught without any 

the following lines : very good warrant, however is placed by 

the Irish Priest s "Life of St. Brigid," 

" Organa dulcisono resonant crdestia cantu. after this visit to Dubtach. See chap, v., 

Hoc pueri pariter cantantes, hoc seniores, p. 60. 

Angelici populi respondent, Alleluia." 10 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of 

the Saints, vol. ii. February i., p. 17. 

13 The invention of organs dates to are- I? See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," 

mote antiquity, and to a period long ante- Vita Cjuarta S. Brigid.e, lib. ii., cap. vi., 

cedent to the Christian era. Bellannine vii., viii., ix., p. 551. Nearly the same ac- 

stales, that organs were used in Church ser- counts are contained in the Vita Tertia S. 

vices, about the year6( \ ?.s Platina relates Brigida. , cap. Ixxxvii., Ixxxviii., Ixxxix., p. 

irom the Pontifical. When Pope Vitalian 538, ibid. 

reformed Roman Church music, he intro- 1B In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 

duced organs as instruments for accompani- St. Brigid, pp. 30, 31, the King of Leinster, 

ment. Other authors refer their introduc- to whom the holy abbess went, is called 

tion in Church services to a later period. Ailill, son of Dunlaing. Perhaps, he and 

See the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," vol. his brother held a joint sovereignty over 

xiii., pp. 485 to 489. Dublin edition. Leinster, or what seems more likely, Ailill 

J *The Abbate D. Giacomo Certani has may have preceded llland in his term of rule, 

it: " Merce dell Angelo mio assisto gior- 19 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 

nalmente a quanti sacrificii s offrono a Dio Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Jber- 

nella Catolica chiesa. Ascolto, e veggo le nese," Libro Sesto, pp. 465 to 467. 

Messe, che si celebrano in Roma, e in qua- 20 Most probably at iN aas, where there 



ii8 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



with her virgins, one of the king s servants came to her. He said, " If you 
release me from my bondage to the king, both I and my family shall become 
your servants for ever, while myself, my posterity and kindred shall likewise 
make profession of Christianity." The holy virgin said, she should prefer 
his request before the monarch, into whose presence she was soon con 
ducted. The king then asked the holy virgin what had been her object in 
seeking this interview. She replied, her father desired to possess that sword, 
which had been lent to him, as a perpetual gift, whilst on her own part, 
she petitioned the king to manumit or transfer to herself the slave and his 
family. Then said the king : " You require from me a most precious sword, 
O saint, but what better favour will you accord me, should I grant both of 
these boons ?" The holy virgin asked him, what he should think about 
obtaining eternal life, and of having kings in his line, to the end of time. 
The king then told her, he did not desire that life, of which he had yet no 
experience, nor did he care for the prosperity of those children, who were 
destined to succeed him. But, he asked for two other favours. These were, 
that he should enjoy a long life, in this world, which he loved, and that he 
should be a conqueror, in all his wars. 21 He told Brigid, that a great war 
was then pending, between the people of Leinstcr and the race of Cuinn. 
The holy abbess assured him, that both those desires should be obtained, 
when she returned home, witli those favours she asked for granted to her. 
Before leaving, she imparted her blessing to the king. 22 

Shortly afterwards, Illand with a small army, entered the territories of his 
enemies, who belonged to the posterity of Cuind. 2 3 Having reached the 
plain of Breagh, 2 * he was there met by a well-appointed force. When he 
saw the number of men drawn out to meet him, the King of Leinster 
called aloud to his soldiers : " Stand firm, and invoke St. Brigid s assistance, 
for she will redeem her promises." With cries that reached the heavens, 
his whole band called out the holy virgin s name, and immediately com 
menced their onset of battle. The King of Leinster had a glorious vision 
of holy Brigid, preceding him in the field, and holding a staff in her right 
hand, while a pillar of glittering flame reached from her head towards 
heaven. 2 * A sudden panic seized on the Neill forces. They immediately 
fled. The King of Leinster and his victorious army gave thanks to God 
and to St. Brigid. To her patronage they mainly attributed the glory of this 
day. 26 This great victory over the northern forces was the prelude to other 
famous achievements. Illand is said to have fought thirty battles in Ireland, 
and eight 2 ? or nine 28 in Britain. In all of these conflicts, he proved victo 
rious. A belief entertained, regarding his invincible prowess, caused several 

was formerly a seat of the kings of Lein- O Dubhagain and Giolla na naomh O Hui- 

ster. See "The Parliamentary Gazetteer dhrin." Edited by Dr. John O Donovan, 

of Ireland, vol in., p. 3. n . 272> pp . 
1 



xxxv iii. 



. . > . t . 

1 See lAbbate D. Giacomo CertaniV La ^Probably the plain, known as Magh 
bantita I rodigiosa. Vitadi S. Brigida Iber- Breacraighe, comprising the northern part 
ne ^ Q Llbl Sesto> PP- 4 6 7 to 470. of Moygoish barony, in the county of West- 

2 borne of the foregoing incidents are meath, and extending into the county of 
briefly related in Professor O Looney s Irish Longford, See ibid., n. 273, p. xxxviii. 

L Bngld) P p - 3I 32 25See Abbate D - Giacomo Certani s " La 



- 

3 These seem to have been the O Cuinns Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brio-ida Iber- 

or O Quins of Hunter Gillagan. These nese," Libro Sesto. pp. 470, 471 
were distributed among the baronies of Ar- * See Colgan s Trias Thaumaturga," 

dagh Moydow, and Shrule, in the county Quarta Vita S. BrigidjE, lib. ii., cap. x., xi., 

?Ln T? S n 1 gh dis P ssessed b y P- SSI- Tertia Vita S. Brigid*, cap. xc. 

the O Farrells m the fifteenth century, their p. 539. 

posterity are yet numerous in that locality. *i According to the Fourth Life. 

lopographical Poems of John 2S According to the Third Life. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



119 



kings to court his alliance with large gifts. During these wars and rumours 
of wars,_ St. Brigid and her nuns, at Kildare, appear not to have been dis 
turbed, in the least, so far as the even current of a religious life passed on ; 
nor do we hear of hostile clamour awakening that repose, so grateful to 
their holy inmates, around the precincts of her privileged cloisters. 

The Borumha Laighean or " Leinster cow-tribute" 2 ^ was a fruitful source 
of warfare between the sovereigns of Ireland and the men of Leinster, not 
only before, but during and long after the lifetime of St. BrigicU From 
this irritating cause, probably originated most of those petty wars, carried 
on with such frequent and obstinate persistence for so many centuries. ^ The 
renowned warrior King of Ireland, Tuathal Teachtmhar,3 2 who is said to 
have fought no less than 133 battles in the different provinces, reigned thirty 
years,33 during the close of the first, and he was slain after the commence 
ment of the second century,34 A .D. io6,35 He is related to have imposed 
the degrading and oppressive Borumha, or cow tribute, on the Leinster 
peopled 6 During the reign of King Cormac," son of Art, about A.D. 241, 
is recorded a great outrage, perpetrated or permitted by Dunlang, son to 
Enna Niadh, King of Leinster. He appears to have assaulted the royal 
seat at Tara, and on the western slope of the hill, at Claeniearta/ 8 where 
the apartments for females had been erected/9 thirty royal maidens/ with 
three hundred women servants, had been massacred. This happened on 
Saman s day.-* 1 To avenge this cowardly and cruel act/ 2 King Cormac ex 
ecuted, at the same time, twelve of the Leinster chiefs, who were thought 
or proved to be guilty of it, while he increased the Leinster tribute, which 
already was so very onerous. Yet, this annual exaction was impolitic, as it 



_ 2 There is a very curious Irish tract, in 
tituled, " Borumha Laighean," on the ori 
ginal imposition and final remittance of this 
impost, preserved in the Look of Lecan. 
Another copy of it may be found in a vellum 
manuscript, classed II, 2, iS, in the Library 
of Trinity College, Dublin. A copy had 
been prepared for publication by the Irish 
Archaeological Society, but it has not yet 
issued from the press. 

3 - See Townsend Young s " History of 
Ireland," chap. i. , pp. 15, 16. 

31 See "Three Fragments, copied from 
ancient sources," by Dubhaltach Mac Fir- 
bisigh. Edited by Dr. O Donovan, pp. 32 
to 35- 

3 - See an account of his reign in L Abbe 
Ma-Geoghegan s "Histoire de ITrlande, 
Ancienne et Moderne," tome i., part i., 
chap. vi. , pp. 12610 130. 

33 Beginning A.D. 76, according to Dr. 
O Donovan s " Annals of the Four Masters," 
vol. i. , pp. 98, 99. 

34 See a very interesting account regarding 
the imposition of the Leinster cow-tribute, 
during the reign of this monarch, in O Ma- 
hony s Keating s "History of Ireland," 
book i., part i., chap, vii., pp. 297 to 306. 

35 According to Dr. O Donovan s "An 
nals of the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 98 
to 101. 

36 This was done on account of an act of 
treachery, perpetrated by a king of Leinster 
towards the two daughters of the monarch 
Tuathal. In revenge, he devastated Lein 



ster, and when the people of that province 
had submitted to him, he exacted "the fol 
lowing /} ;/<. or Boroimhe, viz., 600 Cows, 
600 Hogs, 600 Sheep, 600 Ounces of Silver, 
600 Mantles, and 600 Tun of Iron, Yearly; 
which was paid during the Reigns of 40 
Kings successively thereafter." MacCur- 
tin s " Brief Discourse in Vindication of the 
Antiquity of Ireland," part i., pp. 92, 93. 

37 See a very full account of events chro 
nicled under this monarch s reign in O Ma- 
hony s Keating s " History of Ireland," 
book i., part i., chap, vii., pp. 328 to 360. 

38 The exact position of this site will be 
found on the admirable map, which illus 
trates " Monuments of Tara Hill restored 
from Ancient Documents. See "Trans 
actions of the Royal Irish Academy," vol. 
xviii. Antiquities, sec. iii. "On the His 
tory and Antiquities of Tara Hill." By 
George Petrie, Esq., R. H.A., M.R.I. A., p. 
152. This most erudite paper was read 24th 
ol April, and 8th and 22nd of May, 1837. 

39 In the " Dinnseanchus," where the two 
Claenfearts are placed to the west of Rath 
Grainne, it is stated, that the virgins were 
slaughtered in the Southern Claenieart. See 
ibid., p. 142. 

40 It has been supposed, these were vestal 
virgins. See ibid., p. 218. 

41 See ibid., p. 151. 

42 Cuan O Lochain, an ancient poet, re 
cords ClAoinferiCA nA claon CAHIJTII, 
which is Englished "The Claenferts of the 
treacherous covenant." See ibid., p. 144. 



120 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



was unjust ; for, constituted as Ireland had then been, not alone difficulties 
were experienced in distributing the assessment, but in collecting it, at stated 
intervals. Still, the Leinstermen were protected from the depredations of 
their southern adversaries, the Munstermen, by Cairbre Liffeachair, 44 the 
son of King Cormac. The tanists and people of Leinster do not seem to 
have been sufficiently powerful to resist effectively the Ard-righs of the king 
dom, until after the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, 45 when, under the 
leadership of the renowned Crimthan Kinsellagh, dynast of South Leinster, 
and of Illand, the enterprising and valiant dynast of Northern Leinster, the 
Lagenians began to cope with the last Pagan monarch, Laeghaire. 46 The 
latter potentate appears to have been tenacious of his prerogatives ; for, 
during his term of rule, he inflicted a great defeat on the Lagenians, towards 
the middle of the fifth century. The very year in which it has been sup 
posed St. Brigid was born, 4 ? viz. A.D. 456, Leinster is said to have been de 
vastated. Other writers place this raid at an earlier period. Such reverse 
seems to have been retrieved, about A.D. 460, at the battle of Athdara, 48 
fought by the Leinstermen, against Laogaire. 4 ? The place is said to have 
been in Kildare County. 50 This defeat of the monarch Laoighaire is re 
ferred to A.D. 457, 5I 458, 52 459, 46i, s3 or 465, 54 by other authorities. 55 It is 
said, that Cremthann was leader of the Lagenians. 56 While some accounts 
refer the death of King Laeghaire 57 to A.D. 458. s8 other writers place it 
at A.D. 461, or 462,59 or 464^ while another annalist has it, so late as 470. 6l 
The "Annals of Ulster" refer to A.D. 464, the first war of Airdacorann, 
which was carried on by the Lagenians, 62 while the battle of Ard-Coran 63 is 



43 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 118, 119. 

44 The events of his reign are set forth in 
O Flaherty s " Ogygia," Pars, iii., cap. 
Ixx. , Ixxi., Ixxii., pp. 341 to 357. 

45 In the following resume Q{ wars, noted 
throughout the subsequent epoch, it is often 
difficult to determine the special causes that 
gave rise to them. Yet, it will be seen, for 
the most part, these battles were fought 
either on the northern parts of Leinster, or 
within the territories of Meath. The most 
vengeful and inveterate raids were between 
the Hy-Nialls or Leith Cuinn people, and 
the Lagenians or Leinstermen. It must be 
observed, if our Irish kings and toparchs ad 
vised or accepted war unlike some modern 
statesmen they were obliged personally to 
assume the post of danger as commnnders- 
in-chief, when their clansmen were called to 
the field of slaughter. 

46 See the events of his reign chronicled 
in Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the Four 
Masters," vol. i., pp. 128 to 145. 

47 According to the Annals of Inis- 
fallen." 

48 On the River Barrow. See Haverty s 
" History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern," 
chap, ix., p. 74. 

49 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii. " Annales 
Inisfalenses, "p. 3. 

_ s See L Abbe Ma-Geoghegan s "His- 
toire d Irlande," tome i., part ii., chap, ii., 
P- 263, 

51 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 142, 143. 



52 The " Annales Ultonienses" place the 
battle of Cath Atha Dara at this year or at 
A.D. 459. See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum 
Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus iv., p. 4. 

53 Ibid. 

54 See " Annales Buclliani," or " Annals 
of Boyle, "p. 2, tomus ii. Dr. O Conor s 
" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores." 

55 The " Chronicum Scotorum" has this 
event at A.D. 459. See W. M. Hennessy s 
edition, pp. 26, 27. 

5 The "Ulster Annals" make a third 
entry of this battle, at A.D. 461, where they 
add, we must suppose regarding the Leinster 
men, " quibus Cremthan tune pre-erat." 

5 ? At Greallach Daiphil, on the side of 
Cais in Magh Life, according to the " Chro 
nicum Scotorum," edited by William M. 
Hennessy, pp, 26, 27. 

58 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 144, 145. 

5J The "Annals of Ulster" have this 
event at either year, 461 and 462, while the 
place is called Greallagh Griainl, near or 
beyond the territory of Cassie, in the plain 
of the Liffey. See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum 
Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus iv., p. 4. 

60 The " Annals of Inisfallen" state, that 
at A.D. 464, the death of Laogire Mac Neill 
took place at Grallach-da-ball, between 
two hills, called Hibernia and Albania. 
See ibid,, tomus ii., p. 3. 

61 See the "Annals of Boyle," at A.D. 
470, p. 3, ibid, 

62 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv., p. 5- 

63 This place has not been identified. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



121 



assigned to A.D. 467, by the "Annals of Inisfallen." 6 * In the year 464,^ 
or 468, 66 the Leinstermen were again in arms, against the supreme monarch. 
The " Annals of Inisfallen" refer, however, to A.D. 47 1, 6 ? that war of Dumai 
Achir,*- 8 according to the book of Cuanac, which was carried on against 
Oilill Molt, King of Ireland. 6 ? Illand, the Prince of North Leinster, was 
victor in this engagement.? The boxing-battle of Bri-Ele, supposed to have 
taken place at the hill of Croghan, in the King s County, does not appear to 
have been a very formidable encounter. Probably it was only a pugilistic 
contest, between certain selected champions of Leinster and Meath. The 
monarch, Oilill Molt, seems to have been present, either as a combatant, or 
as a spectator. Its occurrence is variably referred to A.D. 468,7* 473, 475, 
47i, 72 or 481.73 The Irish poet, Gilda Moclud of Ardbraccan, states, that 
after Oilill-Molt had passed twenty years of a victorious life, 74 Lugad the 
Strong, and the son of Laogaire, slew him by a most lamentable action.75 
This occurred at the battle of Ocha,? 6 to which allusion has been already 
made. Under another form of name, we meet with an account, at the year 
477,77 regarding this battle of Uchbad, which was fought against the Lage- 
nians, by Crimthann, or by Fiachra ^arntlo, or " the garrulous/ son to Coel- 
ban, son of Cruinnius, from Dalaradia.? 3 At the year 478, 7y or at 483, 8o we 
have an account regarding the murder of Crimthan, son to Enna Censelach, 
son to Breasal Belac, King of Leinster. This seems to be confounded with 



64 See ibid., tomus ii., p. 3. 

65 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 146, 147. 

66 According to the "Annals of Ulster." 

6 7 See Dr. < /Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii., p. 3 

6ii In English, Aichir s or Heber s Mount : 
this place has not been identified. See Dr. 
O Donovan s "Annals of the Four Mas 
ters," vol i., n. (1), p. 146. 

69 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Iliberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv. " Annales 
Ultonienses" p. 5. Tlie " Annals of Ul 
ster" have an entry at A.D. 474, and again 
at A.D. 476, as if the true date for this 
battle of Duma Achir were a matter of 
doubt. See ibid., p. 6. 

7 "The Annals of Inisfallen." IbiJ., 
tomus ii., p. 3. 

7 According to Dr. O Donovan s " An 
nals of the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 
148, 149, and nn. (u, w), ibid. 

T- The "Annals of Ulster" have it en 
tered at each of these three years, as if 
there were different authorities for each 
statement. See Dr. Charles O Conor s 
" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus 
iv., p. 6. 

73 The "Annals of Boyle" enter it at this 
date. See ibid., tomus ii., p. 3. 

7* MacCurtin states, that his reign com 
menced A.D. 453 and ended 473. See " A 
Brief Discourse in Vindication of the Anti 
quity of Ireland," part ii., pp. 155, 156. 

75 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Iliber- 
nicarum Scriptores," tomus i. Prologo- 
mina, pars i., pp. cxlix., clxvii. 

76 This is supposed to have been fought 
in Meath, and not far from Tara. Lughaidh, 



son of Laoighaire, too young at the time of 
his father s deatli to contest the succession, 
seems to have obtained the crown by form 
ing a strong confederacy of provincial kings 
and toparchs. See Haverty s History of 
Ireland," chap, ix., p. 75. 

77 See the "Annals of Inisfallen." Dr. 
O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- 
tores," tomus ii., pp. 3, 4. 

78 In the " Annals ol Ulster," a notice of 
this battle of Ocha is entered, under A.D. 
482, and again under A.D. 483, in that old 
translation, found in the Clarendon MS., 
torn. 49. There we read: "482. Btllum 
Oche, in quo cecidit Ailill Molt manu Lugh 
mic Laogaire, et Murierti mic Erca. A 
Concobaro filio Nessa usque ad Cormacfilium 
Art anni 208. A Cormac usque ad hoc belliim 
206, ut Cuana serif sit." And again : "483. 
Iti ^ulatio Crimthain, mac Enna Censelaich, 
Rt ^is Lagenie, mic Bressail Bealaich, mic 
Cathair moir, Et hoc anno the battle [called] 
Cath Ocha, secundum alias, by Lugad and 
by Murtagh mac Erca, and by Fergus Cer- 
vail, mac Council Crimthain, and by Fi 
achra Lon, the King of Dal-Araide." 

75 According to the "Annals of Inisfal- 
]j;i," which have this statement. A.D. 478. 
The war of Granaird. Finchad, King of 
Leinster fell. According to some, Meice 
Eirce was the conqueror, but others state 
Coirpre was the victor. See Dr. O Conor s 
" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus 
ii., p. 4. 

80 This is the year assigned by O Fla- 
herty for the accession of Lugad, the son of 
Laogaire, to the sovereignty of Ireland. 
See " Ogygia," pars iii., cap. xciii., p. 430. 
Other accounts differ as to date. 



122 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the following entry. At the year 485, we find a record concerning the first 
war of Granearad, in which Cairpre Mac Neill the ninth hostage was 
victor. There fell Finchat, the son of Ere, according to some writers, while 
he was a victor, in the opinion of others. 81 Again, this same first war of 
Graine is entered a third time, at A.D. 486, 82 in the Ulster Annals. During 
this contest, Crimthan Censalach received a deadly wound. 8 3 There he is 
said to have slain Echadh. Notwithstanding, the " Annals of Inisfallen," 
while recording such events at 478, still defer, to the year 480, the death of 
Crimthan Censelach. 84 He probably lingered two years, and as an effect of 
his wounds death then ensued. 85 In A.D. 485, the war of Sratha-Conaill 
was waged. Fiach Mac Finchada, King of Leinster, fell in this engagement, 
while Eochu Mac Corpri was victor. 86 Yet, this historical episode is deferred 
to A.D. 494, by the annalist Tigernach. 8 ? The Pagan brother of King Lea- 
ghaire, who is called Cairbre, son to Niall of the Nine Hostages, fought and 
won the battle of Tailteen, 88 in East Meath, 8 9 against the Lagenians. Some 
accounts have this battle at A.D. 491, while other writers enter it, at A.D. 4949 
or 495. In conjunction with his brother Ailill, Eochaidh Guineach,? 1 and 
Muircheartach Mac Earca,9 2 Illand gave battle to yEngus, son of Natfraich, 
and the first Christian King of Munster.93 This was the religious prince 
who had been baptized by St. Patrick^ at Cashel. The locality of this 
decisive engagement was in the plain of Magh-Fea, four miles east of 
Leighlin, and within the county of Carlow. The spot, formerly called Cell- 
osnada, or Ceann-Losnada, is now named Kelliston. Mr. O Donovan says, 
that there exists among the old natives of the place a most curious and 
remarkably vivid tradition of this battle, which explains the Irish name of 
the place denoting " church of the groans / and which it received, according 
to this tradition, from the lamentations of the Munster women, after the loss 
of their husbands and brothers in the battle.95 On the 8th of the October 
Ides, A.D. 489,9 6 the King of Munster?? and his queen, Eithne Huathach,9 8 



81 See the "Annals of Ulster." Dr. edition of the "Annals of Tigernach," at 

O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- A.D. 490. 

tores," tomus iv., p. 7. 9= He is called " Alliachensis Rex," or 

2 See ibid. " King of Aileach," in Tigernachi Annales, 

3 At Granairdor Graine. pp. 123, 124. See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum 
S4 See ibid., tomus n., p. 4. Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus ii. 

85 The battle of Graine or Granard is said 93 See Miss M. F. Cusack s "Illustrated 

to have been fought among the Leinstermen History of Ireland," chap, ix., p. 130. 

themselves. See Dr. O Dono-an s "An- 94 This narrative is to be found in Petrus 

nals of the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 150, de Natalibus, lib. iii., cap. 204, and in the 

1 5 I< Life of St. Patrick, by Joceline, cap. Ixxiv. 

See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni- 9S This, however, though a very natural turn 

carum Scriptores," tomus ii. Annales Inis- for tradition to have given it, is not the true 

fal R en ^ e rl P- f" form of the name 5 for > it; appears, from an 

" Where he enters, CAch S^AChA. (Free- ancient historical tale, preserved in " Lc- 

lium Srathense.) See ibid., p. 124. abhar-na-h-Uidhri," that it was first written 

A.D. 491, according to the " Chronicum Ceann-Losnada, which is also the form of 

Scotorum," pp. 32, 33, and Dr. O Dono- the name given in the " Annals of Ulster " 

vans "Annals of the Four Masters," vol. In the latter annals, a notice of this battle 

i., pp. 154, 155. The "Annals of Ulster" is thus entered, "A.D. 489. Bellum Cinn 

place it at A. D. 494, or 495. Losnado, ubi cecidil Aengus, films Natfraich, 

iee ibid., n. (p). rig h Mumhan, ut Guana scnpsit." See Dr. 

Ine Annals of Tigernach," at A.D. O Dono van s work, vol. i., n. (n) p i"C2 

%k enter CAch CAillcen. See Dr. * In Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 

Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- carum Scriptores," the Annals of Inisfallen 

tores, tomus n. Tigernachi Annales, p. have the Battle of Killosnat, at A.D. 

I2 5; CCCCLXXXIV. See tomus ii., p. 4. The 

* This word is interpreted vulnerator, " Four Masters and the Annals of Ulster the 

rtne wounder, by Dr. O Conor, in his latter quote Guana as authority place "Bel- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



123 



fell in this engagement.?? According to one account, the chief enemy of 
^Engus 100 is said to have been I Hand. 101 A different narrative has it, that 
Ailill was the cause of this slaughter, 102 while some other statements aver, 10 * 
that Muirchertach Mac Earca, afterwards monarch of Ireland, slew ^Engus 
at this battle of Kill-Osnaidh. 10 * His death appears to have excited much 
sympathy and sorrow ; IQ s for, personally, he was amiable and respected. 106 
Such does not seem to have been the case, in reference to his wife ; who, 
probably, was over-haughty, and revengeful or ambitious, 10 ? as she is re 
presented to have been intriguing and unscrupulous. She thus obtained 
an undesirable surname, " the hateful." 108 St. Kieran, the patron saint of 
Ossory, is said to have predicted the untimely death of both herself and her 
husband on the same day. 10 ? 

The battle of Sleamhain, IIO in Westmeath, 111 was fought A.D. 492, by Cairbre, 
already mentioned, against the Lagenians. II2 The " Chronicum Scotorum"states, 
however, that Eochaidh, son of Coirpre, was here the victor. Tighernach 
dates this event at A.D. 497,^3 while the " Ulster Annals" have it A.D. 498."+ 



lum Cinnlosnado at- 489, or according to 
others at 490. See " Annales Ultonienses," 
tomus iv., ]>. 8, ibid. Again, the " Annals 
of Tighernach" place the battle of Cillosnad 
at A.D. 490. See ibid., tomus ii., pp. 123, 
124. 

9 ? According to the " Annals of the Four 
Masters," of this celebrated battle it was 
said : 

" Died the branch, the spreading tree of 

gold, 

Aenghus the laudable, son of Nadfraech, 
His prosperity was cut off by Illann, 
In the battle of Cell-Osnadha the foul," 

O Donovan s edition, vol. i., pp. 152, 153. 

98 She was sister of Crimthann, King of 
Hy-Kinsellagh. 

99 See O Mahony s Keating s " History of 
Ireland," book ii., part ii., chap, i., p. 421. 

100 His daughter Uctdelb or Ughdelve was 
the wife of Oilild Molt, supreme Monarch 
of Ireland. 

101 The reader is referred to a statement 
in a previous note, as also to the account 
given by the ancient writer of St. Kieran s 
Acts. See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum 
Hiberniae," V. Martii. Vita S. Kierani, 
cap. xix., p. 460. Brogan, the Devout, has 
given a similar narrative in his tract "On 
the heroic Actions of the Leinster Kings." 

102 Such is the account of Dubtach O Lu- 
gair. 

103 Johannes Dubaganus, and two other 
anonymous authors, in a " Catalogue of the 
Kings of Munster." 

104 Colgan says, that all these varying ac 
counts can be reconciled, in the account of 
.tfingus s death, noticed under A. D. 489, in 
the "Annals of the Four Masters;" as 
those persons there named were partici 
pators in the battle fought against the King 
ot Munster. 

105 The old writer of St. Kieran s Acts al 
ludes to this event in the following words : 
"et hsec cedes maxima abusio erat." 



106 Regarding his death, the following 
translation of an Irish poem states : 

" A branch of the great spreading tree 

died 
.dingus the praiseworthy, son of Nath. 

fraeich ; 

His head was left with lollann, 
In the battle of foul Cill-Osnaigh." 

" Chronicum Scotorum." William M. 
Hennessy s translation, p. 31. 

07 The ancient writer of the Life of St. 
Kieran, whose acts will be found at the 5th 
of March, tells us that yEngus and his queen 
were killed, in consequence of a prophecy 
of St. Kieran, fulfilled at the battle of 
Ceall-Osnaidh. 

108 See William M. Hennessy s " Chro 
nicum Scotorum," pp. 30, 31. 

109 See Colgan s "Acta Sanctorum Hi- 
bernix," V. Martii. Vita S. Kierani, cap. 
xix., p. 460. 

110 While Dr. O Donovan states, that in 
Meath and Ulster, the word fleAniAir) 
means " .slimy" or " slippery," and "land 
bearing elms ;" Dr. Joyce seems to derive 
it from sleibhin (slayveen), the diminutive 
of sliabh, and applied to a little hill. See 
The Origin and History of Irish Names 
of Places," part iv. , chap, i., p. 367. 

11 Sleamhain, modernized, Slewen, or 
Slanc, is now represented by the townlands, 
Slanebeg and Slanemore, in the parish of 
Dysart, baronies of Moycashel and Maghera- 
dernon. See "Ordnance Survey Town- 
land Maps for the County of Westmeath." 
Sheet 18. 

;ia See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 154, 155 and n. 

(q). 

113 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores." The " Annals of Tiger- 
nach" have at A.D. 497, CAch SteAmnA 
tTh oe. Tomus ii., p. 125. 

_ II4 See ibid., tomus iv., " Annales Ulto 
nienses," p. 9. 



124 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Again, Eoclia, son of Cairbre, was victorious 113 over Fiach Mac Finnchada, 
a king of Leinster, who fell in the second battle of Granairet, or Graine," 6 
A.D. 494, or 496. "7 The battle of Innimore, or Inde Mor, in the territory 
of Congabhla, was fought against the Leinstermen, and their leader Illann, 
son of Dunlaing. Murcheartach Mac Earc was victorious. This engage 
ment took place, according to some accounts, in 492 IlS or 497, "9 while 
certain writers have it entered at A.D. 499> I2 and others at A.D. 5oo. 121 
Tigernach records the battle of Innimor at A.D. 503. 122 During the reign of 
Lugaidh, Ard-Righ, 123 the war of Saegre or Saeghais was carried on A.D. 
494, according to the " Annals of Inisfallen/ 12 * while those of Tigernach I2 5 
place that event at the year 500. The " Annals of the Four Masters 1 register 
this battle of Seaghais, at A.D. 499, which is said to correspond with A.D. 504. I26 
Muircheartach Mac Erca became a guarantee between Duach Teangumha, 12 ? 
King of Connaught, and his brother Eochaidh Tirmcharna. The latter was 
foster-father and uncle to Duiseach. She was wife to Muircheartach, and 
daughter to Duach Teangumha. 128 She is said to have instigated her husband 
to avenge a wrong done by her father, who had taken Eochaidh a prisoner, 
and contrary to his agreement with Muircheartach. Accordingly, four en 
gagements seem to have been fought between the Hy-Nialls and the Con- 
naughtmen, in all of which the latter were defeated. I2 9 The battles of 
Dealga, of Mucramha and Tuaim Drubha were followed up by the battle of 
Segsa against " Duach of the Brass Tongue." 130 Here Duach, who suc 
ceeded Oilill Molt, after the battle of Ocha, fell. 131 The " Annals of Ulster" 



"5 This is probably, what the "Annals of 
Tigernach" call at A.D. 495, the CAch 
CAiiAifce 5f\enie. See Dr. O Conor s 
" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus 
ii., p. 125. They also state, that Fraoch 
was killed here by Eochiis. 

116 See 1 Abbe Ma-Geoghegan s "Ilistoire 
de 1 Irlande, Ancienne et Moderne," tome 
i., partii., chap, ii., p. 271. Ma-Geoghegan 
calls this king "Fraoch, fils de Fionchad." 

"7 According to the "Annals of Ulster." 
See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hibernicarum 
Scriptores," tomus iv. , p. 9. 

"*The "Annals of Inisfallen" assign it 
to A. D. 492. 

119 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii. " Annales 
Inisfalenses," p. 4. Also, tomus iv., " An 
nales Ultonienses," p. 9, give the latter date. 

120 Thus a manuscript copy of the Annals 
of Clonmacnoise," cod. cl., according to 
O Flaherty. 

121 See " Chronicum Scotorum," edited 
by William M. Hennessy, pp. 34, 35, and 
n. 8. 

122 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii. Tigernachi 
Annales, p. 127. 

" 3 See O Mahony s Keating s "History 
of Ireland," book ii., part ii., chap, i., p. 
422. 

I2 < See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii. Annales Inis 
falenses, p. 4. 

125 See ibid. Tigernachi Annales, pp. 
125, 126. 



126 See Dr. O Donovan s edition, vol. i., 
pp. 160 to 163. 

12 7 He was otherwise called Duach Galach, 
i.e., the Valourous. 

r - 8 In Irish his name is written 



See 1 Abbe Ma-Geoghegan s " Histoire 
de I lvlande, Ancienne ct Moderne." Se- 
conde Partie, chap, ii., p. 271. 

130 Dr. O Conor thinks he was so called 
because of his using the warlike trumpet 
" JEre ciere viros, Martemque accendere 

cantu." 

131 Regarding this battle, Cenfaelad, an 
ancient poet, sang : 



SejVifA beAn no 
j\o boi cpu oeA pJ OA p cjun-pgli, 
LA t)uipcn, 1115111 "OuAich 
CAC!I TJeALccA, CAch lllucriArnA Acuf CAch 

UUAniA OrUlbA, 

LA CAcli SeAgfA, In ccor\cAirx t}tiAcri CeAn- 

5U 111 V)A. 

Thus rendered into English by Dr. O Dono- 

van 

" The battle of Seaghais ; a certain woman 

caused it ; red blood was over lances, 
By Duiseach, daughter of Duach. 
The battle of Dealga, the battle of Mu 
cramha, and the battle of Tuaim- 
Drubha, 

With the battle of Seaghais, wherein fell 
Duach Teangumha." See "Annals of 
the Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 162, 163. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



125 



enter the battle of Seaga as they write it at A.D. 501. 132 Seghais was an 
old name for the Curlieu Hills, 133 near Boyle, on the confines of the counties 
of Sligo and Roscommon. 134 - 

It would seem, that soon after the death of St. Patrick, about A.D. 493, 13S 
the great fort at Dun-da-leathghlas/ 36 or Downpatrick, had been assaulted 
by some hostile force. Tighernach places this siege at A.D. 496. 137 Cairbre, 
the son of Niall, fought at Ceann-Ailbhe or Cnoc-Ailbhe, against the 
Leinsterman, A.D. 494. 133 This was probably the name of a hill in Magh- 
Ailbhe, in the north of Kildare county. 13 ? Tighernach has this engagement 
of Cindailbe at A.D. 499. 4 The battle of "the White Hill" is noted in the 
" Annals of Ulster," at A.D. 500. < It is called the battle of Kinailbe, in 
the " Annals of Clonmacnoise," and it is entered, under the year 501. 14 - 2 
The battle at Droina Loch Muidhe, or " the hill of Loughbuy," 143 was fought 
against the O Neills by the Leinstermen. 144 The latter were here victorious, ^s 
after a very sanguinary engagement. 1 - 6 This encounter, called "the battle 
of Druim-Lough-maighe," by the Four Masters, I4 ? took place, A.D. 496, or 
500, I4S or 502, according to the "Annals of Ulster. 9 This place was de 
nominated Magh-Muirthemne, 5 situated in the territory of Conaille, the 
level portion of Louth county. 1 1 In 503, J 5 2 or 504, ^ the battle of Mannen 1 4 



132 See Dr. O Conor s " Rcrum Iliberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv. Annale.s LT- 
tonienses, p. 10. 

133 These are partly situated in the Barony 
of Boyle, county of Roscommon, and partly 
in the baronies of (Jorran and Coulavin, 
county of Sligo. These mountains appear 
from the town of Boyle, "rising from the 
opposite side of a valley at the distance of 
about a mile ; their height is not consider 
able ; and, as every part of their surface is 
applicable to tillage, pasturage, or planting, 
houses may be observed gathering far up 
their sides. " John D Alton s " History of 
Ireland and Annals of Boyle," vol. i., p. 9. 

134 See O Mahony s Keating s "History 
of Ireland," book ii., part i., chap, i., p. 
422, n. 67. 

135 See William M. Hennessy s " Chroni- 
cum Scotorum," pp. 32, 33. 

136 The Anglicized form of this name is 
stated to be "the dun or fort of the two 
broken locks or fetters." See Dr. O Dono- 
van s " Annals of the Four Masters," vol. 
i., n. (e), p. 158. 

137 It is entered as Expugnatio TJturi- 
leAcVi-gUire. See Dr. O Conor s "Rc 
rum Hihernicarum Scriptores," tomus ii. 
Tigernachi Annales, p. 125. 

138 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 158, 159, 

139 See ibid., n. (g) 

140 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores." "Tigernachi Annales," 
p. 125, tomus ii. 

141 Ibid., tomus iv. Annales Ultonienses, 
p. 10. 

142 At A.D. 496, it is entered in William 
M. Hennessy s "Chronicum Scotorum," 
PP- 34, 35- 

x Anglicized, "the yellow lake." It is 



difficult to ascertain its locality in Louth 
under cither denomination. 

144 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv. Annales Ul 
tonienses, pp. 9, 10. 

143 The "Chronicum Scotorum" places 
the battle of Druim Lochmaighe at A.D. 
499, PP. 34, 35- 

146 See 1 Abbe Ma-Geoghegan s "His- 
toire de 1 Irlande," tome i. Seconde Partie, 
chap, ii., p. 271. 

147 See Dr, O Donovan s edition, vol. i., 
pp. 160, 161. 

148 See O Mahony s Keating s " History 
of Ireland," book ii., part i., chap, i., n. 
68, p. 422. 

I4 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv., p. 10. 

150 It is stated, that the forests of this dis 
trict were cut down A.M. 2859, before pes 
tilence defrayed the adventurers, whom 
Nemedius had led to invade Ireland. This 
etymon is Anglicized " the Plain of the 
oea." See " The History of Dundalk, and, 
its Environs," by John D Alton and J. R. 
O Flanagan, chap, i., p. i. 

151 This territory was also called Machaire 
Oirghiall, and the ancient inhabitants were 
designated Conaille Muirtheimhne. See 
Dr. O Donovan s " Leabhar na g-Ceart, or 
the Book of Rights," n. (s), p. 22. 

52 See "Annales Ultonienses." Dr. 
O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- 
tores," tomus iv., p. n. 

153 See "Tigernachi Annales," ibid., p. 
127. This writer has it CAch fflAtiArro. 

154 There was a Mannin-Lough, otherwise 
called Loch-na-n Aireadh, in the ancient 
territory of Ciarraighe-Locha-na-nairneadh, 
which comprised about the southern half of 
Costello Barony, in the county of Mayo, 



126 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



was foughtby Aedan, son of Gauran. This was probably some invasion of 
the Isle of Man, 53 w ith the particulars of which we are now uninformed. : 5 6 

The war of Ardacorann or Ardacoraind 15 ? is noticed at A.D. 497, is8 506, 
507, and SIQ.^S Tighernach notes it at A.D. 508. l6 Next, according to 
the " Annals of Inisfallen," the war of Fremaind Midi took place A.D. 499- 161 
The " Chronicum Scotorum," has A.D. s5- 162 But the "Annals of Tigher 
nach" mention it as the battle of Fernmaigh Midi more correctly Fream- 
hainn l6 3 fought against the Berradian Offelians, 16 * A.D. 5o8. l6 5 At the year 
509, however, the " Annals of Ulster" notice it, in the following manner. 
Failgi Berraide or Falgeus Berradensis was conqueror in the war of Fremonn, 
now Frewin, 166 fought against Fiach, son of Neill. 16 ? Yet, the tide of victory 
soon turned against the Offalians. 168 The "Annals of Inisfallen" refer to 
A.D. 5o4/ 6 9 the battle of Dromderg, or the " Red Hill," 1 ? which was fought 
against them. The "Chronicum Scotorum" enters it at A.D. 512. Fiach 
Mac Neill was the conqueror, in this engagement, over the Hy-failge. At 
A.D. 515, or 516, the date for this encounter has been entered in the " Annals 
of Ulster." 1 ? 1 The plains of Meath were harrassed by the Lagenians, after 
this battle, 1 ? 2 according to one account ; although, others state, 1 ? 3 the result 
of this conflict enabled Fiach to wrest the plains of Midhe from the La 
genians, 1 ? 4 whose champion Faibge Berraide appears to have been. 

The foregoing accounts are sufficient to satisfy us, that the land of Eire 
was "a trembling sod," 1 ? 5 during the lifetime of St. Brigid. It is said, that 



See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the Four 
Masters," vol. ii., n. (1), p. 1115, and Index 
Locorum, pp. Si, 90. 

* The Manama of our Annals is the pre 
sent Isle of Man. See ibid., vol. ii., n. 
(m), p. 878. 

156 See this battle noted in Rev. James 
Johnstone s " Antiquitates Celto-Norman- 
nicse," p. 57. 

157 Not identified. 

158 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores." Annales Inisfalenses, 
p. 5> tomus ii. 

159 In the usual doubtful style, the "An 
nals of Ulster" enter it, under each of the 
three foregoing dates, tomus iv., p. n, 
ibid. 

160 He styles it CAch .A|voA-cof\AnTo . 
Ibid., tomus ii., p. 127. 

161 See ibid., tomus ii., p. 5 

162 See William M. Hennessy s edition, 

PP- 36, 37- 

163 In Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," this battle in Meath is no 
ticed at A.D. 501. Keating places the site 
of it in the ancient territory of Teabtha. 
It is now known as Frewin, a lofty hill 
rising over the western shore of Lough 
Owel, in the townland of Wattstown, 
parish of Portomon, barony of Corkaree, 
and county of Westmeath. See vol. i., n. 
(w), p. 89, and pp. 162, 163. 

164 Res Failghe, or " Ros of the Rings," 
was ancestor of the Ui Failghe, of whom 
O Conchobhuir Failghe (O Conor Faly) 
and O Diomasaigh (O Dempsey) of Clann 
Maeiliaghra ((Jlanmalier), and O Duinn 
(O Dunne) of Iregan, were the most distin 



guished families, after the establishment of 
surnames. See Dr. O Donovan s " Leab- 
har na g-Ceart, or Book of Rights," n. (b), 

P- 193- 

I6 s Called, CACKI ej\titti<ii5m mit>i m 
"Tigernachi Annales." Dr. O Conor s 
" Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus 
ii., p. 127. 

100 The " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Westmeath" do not 
give this historic site, where it ought to be 
noted, on Sheet ii. 

167 See Dr. O Conor s Rer. Hib. Scrip., 
tomus iv. " Annales Ultonienses," p. n. 

168 In Sir Charles Coote s "Statistical 
Survey of the King s County," we have the 
following ridiculous account about the deriva 
tion of their territory : Hy Falgia is derived 
from Hy Eealgia, that is the country of the 
worshippers of Heal." Introduction, p. I. 

16 9 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii. Annales Inis 
falenses, p. 5. 

170 The "Annals of Ulster" term it the 
"war of Dromaderge." Perhaps, the Red 
Hills, near Kildare, might be identified with 
the site. 

171 These records continue to state, that 
Caennfael said, the battle in the red hills 
was a vindictive revenge of the heart after 
seven years. See ibid., tomus iv., p. 12. 

172 According to Caennfael. See ibid. 

173 See William M. Hennessy s " Chro 
nicum Scotorum," pp. 38, 39. 

174 So states Cendfaeladh, as found in his 
poem. Ibid. 

175 An expressive term in our Annals, 
when alluding to the prevalence of domestic 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



127 



Illann died A.D. 506, that he ruled thirty, and that he lived 120 years. The 
latter account is probably an exaggeration. Even after death deferred to 
A.D. 524 1 ? 6 in one account his name was a terror [to his enemies. The 
Hy-Nialls then collected a large army, which invaded the territories of 
Leinster. 1 ?? Cucorb is said to have led the Lagenians to a signal victory, 1 ? 8 
which was obtained at Fionnabhuir or Fennor, 1 ^ near Kildare, A.D. 506. l8 
Other accounts have it at a later period. 181 The spirit of their buried hero 
survived in the souls of his former companions-in-arms, 182 and the voice of 
fame seemed to speak from the very grave, where his remains were moulder 
ing in their kindred dust. The people of the Leinster province, having as 
sembled in council, resolved on removing the mortal remains of their king 
from his tomb. The ghastly corpse had a magic force, second only to his 
living presence among them. l8 3 Driven in a chariot towards their enemies, 
the Leinster people met them, at a place called Luachair, 18 * and fought around 
the dead body of illand, 18 ^ until they routed Neill s posterity with great 
slaughter. 186 The success of their arms was attributed by the Leinstermen 
to the exposition of their former king s dead body, and to the special protec 
tion of St. Erigid, 18 ? which gave them confidence and courage. 188 Thus was 
the name and influence of our illustrious abbess mighty with the mightiest ; 
and her protection was obtained by those kings and people, who had fostered 
her great religious foundation, whenever public and private occasions called 
for her prayers and intercession. 



wars, at various periods. 

175 Sec William M. Ilennessy s " Chroni. 
cum Scotorum," pp. 40, 41. 

177 See Abhate D. Giacomo Certani s 
"La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese. " Libro Sesto, pp. 471, 472. 

178 This battle obtained by the Leinster 
men, under Cucorb s leadership, took place 
A.D. 506, the thirtieth year of llland s reign, 
according to the "Catalogue of the Kings 
of Leinster." See, Colgan s "Trias Thau- 
maturga," n. 53, p. 544. 

179 Such is Dr. O Donovan s identifica 
tion. 

180 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 164, 165. 

181 See William M. Ilennessy s "Chroni- 
cum Scotorum," pp. 40, 41. 

l8i " Their souls are kindled at the battles 
of old ; at the actions of other times. Their 
eyes are flames of fire. They roll in search 
of the foes of the land. Their mighty hands 
are on their swords. Lightning pours from 
their sides of steel. . . . Bright are the 
chiefs of battle, in the armour of their fa 
thers. " James Macpherson s "Poems of 
Ossian." Fingal, book i. 

183 Such an incident, as the present one, 
might well have inspired "the Bard of 
Erin," when he wrote these magnificent 
lyric lines : 

11 And it cries, from the grave where the 

hero lies deep, 
Though the day of your chieftain for 

ever hath set, 

O leave not his sword thus inglorious to 
sleep 



It hath victory s life in it yet ! " 
Moore s " Irish Melodies." 

184 Luachair means a " Rushy Place," but 
although there are countless places, bearing 
this name in Leinster, Dr. ODonovan had 
never been able to identify the exact site of 
this battle. 

18 5 " While thus aloft the hero s corse 

they bear, 
Behind them rages all the storm of 

war. 
Confusion, tumult, horror, o er the 

throng 
Of men, steeds, chariots, urg d the 

rout along." Pope s Homer s 
" Iliad," book vii., 11. 821 to 824. 

186 An account, concerning this miracle, 
is also given in the "Annals of the Four 
Masters," at A.D. 506, as follows: "The 
battle of Luachair [was fought] by Cucorb 
against the Ui-Neill, of which was said : 

The fierce battle of Luachair, over head, 
Brighet saw, no vain vision ; 

The bloody battle of Fionnabhair was noble, 
about the body of Illann after his 
death." 

See O Donovan s edition, vol. i., pp. 164, 

165, and nn. (z, a). 

187 See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Quarta S. Brigida;, lib. ii., cap. x., 
xi., xii., xiii., pp. 551, 552. This account 
is abbreviated in the Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, 
cap. xc., p. 538, ibid. 

88 Vita Sexta S. Brigidse, sect, liv., lv., 
p. 594, ibid., where the saint is said to have 
promised Illand a succession of victories, it 
is related, that the brother of the king, on 



128 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



CHAPTER IX. 

DIFFERENT PLACES CALLED KILBRIDE, ON THE EASTERN AND SOUTH-EASTERN COAST 
OF ANCIENT LEINSTER, WHERE THE HOLY ABBESS MAY HAVE LIVED ST. 
BRIGID AND ST. SENAN ST. BRIGID RESTORES A CRIPPLE AN INSANE MAN 
VARIOUS MIRACLES WHICH WERE WROUGHT THROUGH HER MERITS SHE PREVENTS 
BLOODSHED BETWEEN CONALL AND CAIRBRE SHE SAVES CONALL FROM HIS 
ENEMIES. 

ST. BRIGID seems to have founded some religions establishment, near the 
Irish Sea, and on the western side of the ancient kingdom of Leinster. 
There are several places called after her, in corresponding situations ; but, 
it is difficult now to determine if any one of them be identical with it. Hav 
ing for a western boundary a pretty streamlet, which joins the Bray river, 1 
and which divides it from Kilcroney, there is a townland of Kilbride, in the 
northern part of Wicklow county. 2 It lies within the parish of Bray, 3 a 
short distance west of the town, in the barony of Rathdown, and very con 
venient to the sea. No trace of a ruined church, however, can now be dis 
covered there ; although, it seems likely one formerly existed, and which had 
been dedicated to our St. Brigid, from whom the townland probably derived 
its denomination. Besides this, there is a townland and parish of Kilbride* 
in the barony of Lower Talbotstown. A small stream passes the village of 
Kilbride, and this is soon poured into the upper waters of the River Liffey. 
Yet, no ruin can be traced on the site of the townland, which appears to have 
been named after our St. Brigid. 5 Again, there is a Kilbride townland and 
village in the parish of Dunganstown 6 certainly not its ancient name in 



hearing her words, conceived a great desire 
to obtain a like favour, to become a servant 
of St. Brigid, and to receive baptism. Ac 
cording to the metrical account, the follow 
ing reply was made by our saint : 

1 Hsec tibi credenti proestabit magna potestas, 
Tempora longa prius, cum hoc regno vita 

futura, 

Et tua progenies post te tua regna tenebit, 
Donee ad extremum, veniet post terminus 

sevi." 

These promises of the saint are likewise 
said to have been fulfilled ; and Colgan, in 
a lengthened note, postfixed to this passage, 
gives a long list of the kings of Leinster, 
belonging to Ailill s race, extracted from 
our Annals, and tending to establish the 
truth of such prophecy. See ibid., n. 12, 
P- 598. 

CHAPTER ix. The Bray River issues 
from the romantic lough of the same name, 
and runs about eight miles eastward but so 
as to describe the segment of a circle with 
the convexity southward to the sea, one- 
fourth of a mile below the bridge, at the 
town of Bray. It has most of its course in 
the Wicklow half-barony of Rathdown ; but, 
over a short distance above its embouchure, 
it runs on the boundary between the counties 
of Dublin and Wicklow. Though brief in 



length, it abounds in attractions, and identi 
fies itself with the curiosities of Glencree, 
the wonders of the deep, dark, bosky ravine 
of Uargle, the exulting beauties of the 
demesne of Powerscourt, and the several 
amenities of the town of Bray." " Parlia 
mentary Gazetteer of Ireland, vol. i., p. 
277. 

2 See " Ordnance Survey Townland Maps 
for the County of Wicklow." Sheets, 4, 7, 
8. 

3 In the Dinnsenchus there is a legendary 
account, that Bray was so called from Brea, 
sou of Seanboth, one of Parthalon s fol 
lowers, who first introduced single combat 
into Ireland. See Dr. P. W. Joyce s " Ori 
gin and History of Irish Names of Places," 
part iv. , chap, i., p. 377. Might the valley, 
in which Kilbride is situated, have been 
called Magh-Breagh, so frequently men 
tioned in the Lives of St. Brigid ? 

4 This parish is represented on the "Ord 
nance Survey Townland Maps for the 
County of Wicklow." Sheets, i, 2, 5, 6. 

5 Still in this parish, there are two old 
burial grounds and several raths. See 
Lewis "Topographical Dictionary of Ire 
land," vol. ii. p. 56. One of these ruins is 
not far from the Catholic church of Kilbride, 
and surrounded by a graveyard. The ruined 
walls now scarcely rise above the earth. 

6 In Daniel Augustus Beaufort s "Me 



LIFE OF ST. BR2G2D. 



129 



the barony of Arklow.? The townland and village are somewhat removed 
from the sea, which they overlook. Not far from the town of Arklow, are 
the townland and parish of Kilbride, 8 in the barony of Arklow. 9 The old 
church here seems, however, to have been dedicated to a St. Bride, different 
from the holy Abbess of Kildarc. The church is near the sea-shore, and it 
commands a fine view ot the sea, and the town of Arklow. 10 

A short distance from Clondaikm, in the townland and in the parish of 
Kilbride," barony of Newcastle, and county of Dublin, 12 are the ruins of an 
old castle and an ancient ehurch, which occupy a slight elevation and which 
are picturesquely situated. The graveyard enclosure is nearlv circular, and 
it^ adjoins a road, near Castie IJagot demesne.^ Kilbride old church is 
within some short distance of the Dublin ana Naas road, nearly mid-way 




between Clondalkin and Rathcoole. In summer time, the graves in Kil 
bride churchyard are almost smothered with nettles; and, few tombstones 
are now there, while only a portion of the ancient church remains. 1 * The 
choir-arch gives evidence of its being antique ; while, excepting the arching 
stones, which were carefully dressed, the other building stones are mostly 
small. The church, even when complete, seems to have been exceedingly 



moir of a Map of Ireland," this parish is set 
down as a rectory in the diocese ol Dublin. 
See Index, p. 28. The present Catholic 
church stands on the site of the ancient one, 
and is surrounded by the old graveyard. 
Such is the traditional information given to 
the writer by Rev. James Doyle, D.D., of 
St. Michan s church, Dublin, who has a 
thorough local knowledge of the neighbour 
hood. 

i See "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps 
for the County of Wicklow." Sheet 31. 

8 These are shown in the "Ordnance 
Survey Townland Maps for the County of 
\Vicklow." Sheets 40, 41. 

The Parish extends along the left side of 
the Ovoca river to the sea. See " Parlia 



mentary Gazetteer of Ireland." vol ii., p. 
368. 

10 See Lewis "Topographical Dictionary 
of Ireland," vol. ii., p. 55. 

11 This parish is a chapelry, and part of 
the benefice of Clondalkin. See " The 
Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland," vol. 
ii., p. 367. 

-See "Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Dublin." Sheet 21. 

13 On Kilmactalway townland. Near 
Castle Bagot House are the ruins of another 
old church, within a graveyard, not far re 
moved from Kilbride. See ibid. 

14 The accompanying engraving by George 
A. Ilanlon, Dublin, is from a drawing, 
taken on the spot, by Mr. John O C. 

K 



i.o LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



small; yet, the walls were of great thickness. Around the choir-arch,^ the 
face of its wall is now much broken. A few ivy-tendrils creep up along the 
sides of this ruin. From the site, a splendid view of the Dublin mountains 
and of the Liffy valley may be obtained. This church appears to have taken 
its name from our St. Erigid ; still, it is doubtful enough, that she founded it, 
or that she there resided, at any particular period of her life. Although, in 
the city and county of Dublin, several churches and religious houses had 
been dedicated to St. Brigid, probably at epochs long subsequent to her 
decease; yet, we could not presume to assert, that she ever founded or 
resided at any of those places during that interval, when she lived in the 
eastern and maritime part of Leinster. 

In the county of Wexford, there is a Kilbride townland, 16 quite near the 
sea-shore, in the parish of Kiltennell, 17 and barony of Ballaghkeene. No 
trace of a ruined church is there to be found. 18 Besides this, on Kilbride 
townland/ 9 removed some miles from the sea-shore, in the parish of Bally- 
huskard, 20 and barony of Ballaghkeene, an old church and a graveyard are 
yet to be seen. There is a Kilbride townland, 21 not far from Duncannon 
Fort, 22 and near the sea, in the united parishes of St. James and Dunbrody, 
barony of Shelburnc. No trace of a ruin can be discovered there, on the 
Ordnance Survey Maps. Still, we may fairly infer, that in times remote, 
the great Patroness of Ireland had churches, chapels, or convents, dedicated 
to her memory, in nearly all the foregoing townlands and parishes. A 
knowledge of these facts, however, will hardly help us to determine the exact 
place of her maritime abode. 

While St. Brigid lived in her convent, beside the Irish Sea, she is said to 
have prepared vestments 23 for the holy Bishop Senan. He then lived in an 
island, 2 4 which was situated at an opening towards the ocean, in the western 
part of Ireland. 2 5 A wide expanse of water surrounded that island, and it 
lay at a long distance from Brigid s religious establishment. Just opposite 
the town of Kilrush, and now constituted a portion of that parish, Scattery 
Island 26 and its famous ruins 2 ? may be seen far out into the waters of the 
spreading Shannon. 28 The vestments to be used in offering up the Holy 



Robinson, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. 371, 372. 

13 A great number of old ruined churches ~ 3 These are called "missalia indumenta," 

in Ireland had been distinguished by similar in St. Brigid s Fourth Life, 
choir-arches. -^ T O t hi s island, formerly called Inis 

See "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps Cathuigh, and at present Scattery Island, 

for the County of Wexford." Sheet 12. allusion is frequently made in the Acts of 

This parish is also called Kilbride. St. Senan, which will be found at the 8th 

See Lewis "Topographical Dictionary of of March. 

Ireland," vol. ii., pp. 212, 213. 2 s The accompanying engraving, by George 

1 The Owenvarra, which flows through A. Hanlon, Dublin, is from a sketch taken 

Courtown demesne, falls into the sea, at the near the scene by William F. Wakeman, 

bay of Kilbride. See J. N. Brewer s who afterwards transferred it to the wood. 
Beauties of Ireland," vol. i., p. 389. 26 " It is also called Holy Isle : and on the 

" Ordnance Survey Townland festival of the saint it is resorted to by 

Maps lor the County of Wexford." Sheets crowds of pilgrims." " The Tourists Illus- 

26, 27. The church and graveyard are to trated Handbook for Ireland," p. 134. 
be found on Sheet 26. 27 These are depicted on the " Ordnance 

3 See an account of it in "The Parlia- Survey Townland Maps for the County of 

mentary Gazetteer of Ireland," vol. i., p. Clare." Sheet 67. 

28 A smaller island, called Inishbeg, lies 
21 See "Ordnance Survey Townland nearer to the Clare side, and a little to the 

the County of Wexford." Sheet north-east of Scattery. See ibid. 

29 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
See an account of this spot in J. N. Tertia Vita S. Brigidce, cap. cxv., pp. 540, 

Beauties of Ireland," vol. i., pp. 541. Quarta Vita S. Brigidae, lib. ii. cap. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Sacrifice of the Mass were placed in a chest. This, it is said, was floated 
out on the sea. St. Brigid fully confided in Heavenly guidance, that it should 
reach St. Senan. Her confidence was not misplaced ; for, the legend states, 
this chest was wafted round the Irish coast towards that part of the island 
where St. Senan lived. This happened through a special direction of 
1 rovidence, and the box went over sea-courses, which skilled mariners could 
only pass with great difficulty, and in well-appointed vessels. St. Senan had 
a revelation concerning this gift he was to expect. On that particular day, 
when the chest floated near his island, Senan said to his monks : " Go to the 
sea, and bring me whatever you shall find upon it." His brethren found the 
chest, and brought it, as required, to St. Serum. 3 * The latter told them, it 




Scattery Island, and Mouth of the Shannon. 

was a gift sent by St. Brigid, and he gave thanks to God, while invoking a 
blessing on the holy virgin.3 However, a doubt has been thrown on the 
credibility of this legends capable of being resolved from a very marvel 
lous story into a narrative divested of everything incredible 3*_ so far as it 
relates to our St. Brigid. Although the learned Ussher inferred 33_ pro bably 
from reading this account that St. Senan had been established 34 a t Inis- 
cathy, before the death of Kildare s holy Abbess ; yet, it is more likely he 



Ixxxi. p. 561. 

30 A somewhat similar miracle is related 
in the Acts of St. Senan, Abbot of Inis- 
cathy ; but there, the vestments prepared for 
him were made by a St. frigid, the daughter 
of Conchracius, of the Mactail family, and 
whose cell was at a place called Clan-in- 
fidi, near the banks of the River Shannon. 
See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hibernice," 
viii. Martii. Secunda Vita, sive Supplemen- 
tum Vitse S. Senani, ex Hibernico transum- 
tum, cap. xxxix., p. 536, rccte 532. 

31 See Dr. Lanigan s Ecclesiastical History 



of Ireland, vol. i., chap, ix., sec. iv., n. 65, 
pp.^449, 450. 

j - As for example, the vestments, packed 
in a chest, might have been shipped in the 
ordinary way, and have been consigned to 
St. Senan, whom they safely reached. 

:i See " Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Anti- 
quitates." cap. xvii., pp. 454, 488. 

34 Abbate D. Giacomo Certani who re 
lates this legend makes St. Senan preside 
over an imaginary body of Canons Regular. 
See "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. 
Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 544 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



did not settle there until some time after her death. ^ Hence, it seems pro 
bable, that the present narrative has been taken from the acts of another St. 
Brigid,- 6 and transferred incorrectly to the lives not, however, the earliest 
ones of Ireland s illustrious patroness. 

Like the great Apostle of the Gentiles, regarding herself as subject to 
human infirmities, the blessed Abbess felt for the infirm.s? On a certain 
occasion, while Brigid was sitting at the door of a monastery, in which she 
resided, she saw a man at the bank of an adjoining river.3 3 He was bearing 
a burden, and, as he walked along, his body seemed curved. 39 Pitying his 
condition, the compassionate superioress said to those around her, that all 
should go to the man and help to bear his load. Corning towards him, St. 
Brigid said : " Let us bear your burden, for it causes you to stoop greatly." 
The man replied, however, that the weight of his load did not cause his 
curvature, but an old malady, which had troubled him during his earlier days. 
Enquiring about the name of this virgin, who accosted him, he was told she 
was the holy Brigid. Thereupon, he replied ; " I give thanks to God, that I 
have found her whom I have sought." 4 Then, he addressed our abbess, 
asking her to pray to the Almighty for him, that his bodily defect might be 
removed. This pious lady told him to enter a hospice, where he should rest 
for the night, and afterwards, that he should obtain his request. During that 
night, our Saint importuned the Almighty on his behalf.* 1 The following 
morning, she said to the man ; " Go to the river,* 2 and, in the name of Jesus 
Christ, wash yourself, praying to God, and I promise, that you shall be able 
to hold your neck erect. Until I desire you to do so, take care .not to 
depart from that place." Obeying the holy virgin s injunctions, that man, 
who had been curved for eighteen years, was miraculously restored. 43 After 
wards, as in duty bound, he gave heartfelt thanks to God and to St. 
Brigid.44 

On a particular day, the holy woman met an insane person, running from one 
place to another. In his paroxysms of frenzy, this maniac caused great 
annoyance to all that crossed his path. When our Saint saw him, she ad 
dressed him in these words: " O man, announce to me the words of Christ 
Jesus, our Lord. " 45 Although the companions of St. Brigid feared very much 
the result ; yet, they had great confidence in the holy Virgin s gifts of grace. 
The frenzied man at once became collected in his thoughts. He then said 
to the saintly abbess : " O holy Brigid, I obey thee. Love God, and all will 
love thee ; honour God, and all will honour thee ; fear God, and all will fear 



to 546. Baiano, in Campania, there may have been 

35 See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His- some natural curative properties in its waters, 
tory of Ireland," vol i., chap. IK., sec. iv., n. while the Abbess had her own part in the 
65, pp. 449, 450. working of this miracle. See ibid, pp. 312, 

36 Supposed by Colgan, to have been St. 313. 

Brigid oi Cluain-fidhe, whose life is to be 4j In the supplement for use of the Irish 

found, at the 30;)! of September. clergy, postfixed to "BreviariumRomanum," 

37 See ii. Corinthians, xi. 29, 30. Pars Hiemalis, we read, " leprosos sncpius 

38 This circumstance shows the place mundavit, et variis languoribus segrotanti- 
could not have been Kildare. bus sanitatem suis precibus impetravit." 

39 Abbate D. Giacomo Certani imagines, Die. i. Februarii. Officium S. Brigidae. 
that St. Brigid was then engaged superin- Noct. ii.,Lect. vi. 

tending some operatives, who were building 44 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

a church or monastic establishment for her. Vita Quarta S. Brigiclas, Jib. ii., cap. xxvi., 

See " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. p. 553. See also, Vita Tertia S. Brigidje, 

Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quarto, p. 309. cap. Ivi., p. 533, ibid. Vita Sexta S. Bri- 

D See //>/,/. p. 310. gidcc. sec. lix., p. 594. ibid. 

1 See ibid. p. 311. 45 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La 

42 Certani thinks, that like the baths at Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 133 



thee. -* 6 When he had spoken these words, he lied away, with loud out 
cries.-^ 

One rainy day, after serving as a shepherdess, St. Erigid had returned to 
her cell, her garments being saturated \viih rain.-* 3 After a \vhile, the sun 
began to shine, and one of its rays penetrating the wall of this cell, appeared 
to our saint as a line, 4 ^ for holding clothes. = On this she placed her moist 
garments. 51 At the time, a certain wise and pious man preached God s holy 
word, while the Saint s attention was so entirely engaged by his precepts of 
instruction, that totally forgetlul of all earthly concerns, midnight found her 
in the same entranced attitude. 52 To this unusual period the sun s rays re 
mained within her cell, 5 - 5 while the garments of our holy abbess hung thereon, 
until a certain inmate of the house reminded her respecting that error of visual 
sense. 54 This miracle is alluded to in various offices of St. iJrigid. 55 In some 
of her lives, it is added, that certain persons, journey ing by night through the 
Liffey plains, related how they saw these rays brightening the whole cham 
paign, until those arrived, in the middle of the night, at St. Drigid ; s cell. 
Then, all gave thanks to God, and admired all the miraculous manifestations 
of Brigid i sanctity. 56 

In honour of a certain great festival, the holy Abbess had prepared a. 
sumptuous banquet. Yet, before the time for its intended consumption had 
arrived, she distributed the viands among some poor visitors. The nuns of 
our Saint s monastery regretted this occurrence, as many persons were ex 
pected to come, on occasion of their solemnity. Brigid prayed to the Lord 
that night ; and, it so happened, a rich inhabitant, living within that district, 
had been conveying in waggons certain viands, 57 which were provided for 
the king. 58 Having lost the way, however, it yet chanced, that rich neigh 
bour came directly to the gate of St. Lrigid s monastery. Concerning this 
circumstance, God s devoted servant, being preternaturally admonished, went 
out to meet him, and to enquire about his destination. The fortuitous visitor 
was inspired to offer the whole of his store to the Abbess, and he told her, 



Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 341 to 343. - See Camerarius, " De Statu Ilominis 

40 The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, who, in Veteris simul ac nova Lcclesia, et Sanctis 

his account of St. Brigid, relate* the lore- Kcgui Scotia-," lib. i., cap. iii., sec. ii., p. 

going incident, also adds : NYas there ever 140. 

a better sermon preached in fewer words?" 5J See Abbatc D. Giacomo Certani. s "La 

"Lives of the Saints," vol. ii. February Santiia I rodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 

1st, p. 2O. Ibernese/ Libro Sesto, pp. 479, 480. 

47 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 53 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of 
VitaQuarta S. Brigida. Lib. ii., cap. xxxv., the Saints," vol. ii. February i., p. 19. 

p. 555. Also, Vita Tertia S. Brigida-, cap. - 4 The account in the Third Lile exactly 

Ixv., p. 534. Coincides with that recorded in the text. 

48 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." See " Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Tertia S. 
Vita S. Brigida, lib. ii., cap. xv., p. 552. Jirigichv, cap. xcii., p. 539. This miracle is 
In the First Metrical Lile, we are told, she related, likewise, in the Fifth Lile, with a 
returned from tending her sheep. This greater amount of amplification, ibid. Vita 
duty had caused the rain to drench her Ouinta S. Brigida. , cap. xliii., pp. 577, 578. 
garments. Ibid. Vita Prima S. Brigida-, See, also, Vila Sexta S. Brigitia, sec. vii., 
sec. 17, p. 516. p. 583, ibid. 

49 In the Second Life, this same occupa- - 5 I etrus de Natalibus has a similar ac 
tion is assigned as a cause lor her exposure count. See also De Burgo s " Qllicia Pro- 
to the shower ; but, it is there stated, that pria Sanctorum llibernia-. i. Februarii, 
through a defect of vision, she saw not a OfikiumS. Brigida 1 , Moct. ii , Lect. v., p. 12. 
line, but a tree, taking the torm of a sun- -"See, " Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Ter- 
beam. /& </. Vita Secunda S. Brigidre, cap. lia S. Brigida;, cap. xciii., p. 539. Vita 
vii., p. 519. (^uarta S. Brigida;, lib. ii., cap. xvi., p. 552. 

50 The legends in several cases as in the 57 And, as we are informed, these were 
present instance give us an insight regard- furni-hed to celebrate that festival. 

ing many domestic usages of our ancestors. 5ci 1 robably the King of Leinster. His 



i 3 4 LlfE OF ST. B RIGID. 



it was a Providential circumstance, that he had thus strayed, although in a 
well-known country. He promised, likewise, to prepare some other provi 
sions for his lord, the king. Receiving an account of what had happened, 
the latter transferred that villager, with all his family, to serve God and the 
holy virgin, Brigid, as a perpetual vassal, living on her own property. The 
king, moreover, sent another waggon, loaded with provisions, for the use of 
our saint, on occasion of this great solemnity, so that she was fully enabled 
to supply the wants of all her guests. 5 9 The holy abbess thus realized, even 
in a material way, the force of these Gospel words, that for religious fidelity 
she should receive an hundred fold. 60 A certain queen, 61 among other 
valuable presents to St. Brigid, had presented her with an ornamental silver 
chain. 62 Having received our Saint s blessing, that queen returned home, 
while Brigid s nuns, taking the chain from the hands of their abbess, 
deposited it among their church treasures. Yet, as the holy abbess was 
accustomed to distribute all her possessions to the poor, a destitute person 
coming to her received the aforesaid chain. 63 Our saint took it from her 
church valuables, as she had nothing else to bestow. Brigid s nuns, on 
learning this, said to their superioress, " O mother, owing to your generosity, 
we lose whatever God gives us through charitable Christians ; for, you 
leave us nothing, since you bestow all upon the poor." To evade their re 
monstrances, our Saint said : " My daughters, whilst I remain in the church, 
go and seek your chain, 6 + which, perhaps, you will find." Obeying her com 
mands, they found a chain, exactly resembling the one which had been given 
away. Then they presented it to St. Brigid, asking her pardon. The holy 
abbess replied: " Give earthly things to God : He will return you earthly and 
heavenly favours. ;;6 5 The nuns ever afterwards preserved, that chain, 66 as a 
standing memorial of the extraordinary charity characterizing their holy 
superioress. A certain leper, belonging to the race of Neill, 6 ? coming to St. 



name or district, however, is not recorded, conclusive evidences of our early civiliza- 

in St. Brigid s ancient Lives ; although, tion. 

Abbate D. Giacomo Certani who chroni- 4 The Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, re- 

cles these incidents makes all this occur at lating these occurrences, without any seem- 

Kildare, without any apparent authority. ing warrant, but the promptings of his own 

See "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. bright Italian imagination, converts the 

Brigida Ibernese." Libra Quarto, pp. 280 "chain of silver " in St. Brigid s ancient 

to 283. Lives into " Collana d oro," or "a golden 

59 See "Trias Thaumaturga." Vila necklace." See " La Santita Prodigiosa. 
Quarta S. Brigida:, lib. ii., cap. xvii., p. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quarto, 
552. Vita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. xlix., pp. 283 to 287. 

p. 532, ibid. Vita Sexta S. Brigida:, sec. 6 s See " Trias Thaumaturga. " Vita Quar- 

xli., pp. 590, 591, ibid. ta S. Brigida:, lib. ii., cap. xviii., p. 552. 

60 St. Luke, vi. 38. Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. 1., p. 532, ibid. 

61 Her name or place of residence is not Vita Sexta S. Brigida:, sec. xlii., p. 591. 
given, in St. Brigid s Latin Lives. But, in ibid. 

Professor O Looney s Irish Life of the Saint, 66 In the Metrical Acts, we have follow- 

she is called the Queen of Crimthan, son ing minute description of this ornament : 
of Enna Cennsellach, King of Leinster. 

See pp. 35, 36. From this we may pro- " Vertice cui summo fuerat formata figura 
bably draw an inference, that St. Brigid was Humani capitis : subtilis lucet imago 

then living somewhere in the east or south- Filis argenti preciosa, ac textilis hamis 

east of Leinster. Spherula in alternis fulvis prsefulgida 

62 It is said to have had the figure of a gcmmis." 
man attached to one of its ends. 

_ 63 Almost daily are objects of ancient From the foregoing minute description, this 

Irish art and ornament among " the finds " chain must have been elaborately and richly 

of our rural population ; and, several most fashioned. 

interesting specimens have found their place 6? This leper appears to have belonged 

in our museums. These furnish the most to the territory of Meath, which is usually 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 135 



Brigid, asked her for a cow and calf, which the abbess directed her herdsman 
to give. He enquired from our saint, what sort of a cow and calf he should 
select. She told him to choose the best out of their herd. 63 Then the herd- 
man and the leper selected those of prime shape and condition. Yet, they 
found it a matter of great difficulty to separate the calf from a particular cow 
belonging to the herd, although that cow was not its dam. This was told to 
the saint by the poor leper, when Brigid desired one of her servants, 6 ^ then 
engaged at cooking, 7 to go and assist him in driving home those animals. 
Her servant enquired, who had been left to cook, when our abbess said, he 
should return to take charge of that work, within a very short time. The 
man did as he had been desired, and, with the leper, he accomplished a 
journey usually occupying of two days, but he effected it within an hour. 
Their destination was towards the north, and to a place, called Brigh-Chob- 
thuigh Chaoil. 71 It escapes our present power of identification. On return 
ing to St. Brigid, her servant found the flesh-meat in the cauldron, but not 
yet cooked. These miraculous events are accorded to St. Brigid s merits. 
All, to whom they became known, were greatly edified. " J 

A certain king, accompanied by a large retinue, came to celebrate the 
feast of Pentecost, where St. Brigid lived. 73 He spent the eve of this festival 
with her. On the following morning, having heard Mass, he set out, with 
his horsemen and chariots, for his own castle. When this day s solemnities 
had been celebrated, according to custom, our pious abbess superintended 
those tables that were set for the abundant refection of rich and poor. But, 
among the number of her guests, an insolent or a demented leper, 7 ^ through 
some whimsical impulse, refused to partake of foot), if he did not first 
obtain a spear /s which belonged to the king. The leper was asked, why he 
had not demanded it, on the previous day ; while, at the same time, all who 
were present pressed him to eat. They could not, however, procure his 
compliance. The leper remarked, it was only on the present occasion he 
desired that gift. The compassionate abbess could not bring herself to par 
take of food, while that leper was fasting. She immediately despatched 
messengers on horseback after the king, to ask his spear as a gift. These 
set out, and overtook the dynast, as he was crossing the ford of a small 
stream. There they preferred our saint s request. 76 The king joyfully pre 
sented his spear to them, with the remark, that he would give up all his 



called in St. Brigid s Lives, " regio ncpotum Brigi<1;c, sec. xlv., p. 592. 

Neill," that is, of the Southern O Neills. 73 The Abbate IX Giacomo Certani writes: 

The Northern O Neills prineipally lived in " II Re della Lagena era venuto a Killda- 

Ultonia or Ulster, during our Saint s life- ria," &c. La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 

time. See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga," . >. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quarto, p. 

n. 26, p. 543. 303. Vet, although it may fairly be inferred, 

M These incidents are related, as if occur- that he was the King of Leinster, that he 

ring while St. Brigid was at Kildare a came to Kildare, on this occasion, cannot 

gratuitous, yet a probable supposition of be established from those accounts con- 

Abbate D. Giacomo Certani. See "La tained in St. Brigid s more ancient Lives. 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 4 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 

Ibernese." Libro Quarto, pp. 29010292. St. Brigid, pp. 35, 36, lie is called " Lo- 

69 The Third Life calls him a carter or man, Brigid s leper," as if he were some 
groom. person kept in her employment, or some 

70 As we are told, the servant was boiling charitably maintained poor simpleton, whose 
some meat in a cauldron. mind and body were wasted through 

71 See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." disease. 

Prima Vita S. Brigida;, stanza 26, p. 516. 75 Several fine specimens of ancient bronze 

72 See ibid. Secunda Vita S. Brigidrc, and iron spear-heads are yet preserved in 
cap. xvi., p. 520. Tertia Vita S. Brigida:, the Royal Irish Academy Museum. 

cap. lii., p. 532. Quarta Vita S. Brigidte, 7 " So explained by Colgan, in a note, 

lib. ii., cap. xxii., p. 553. Scxta Vita S. See, Vita Tertia S. Brigidie, n. 29, p. 543. 



i 3 6 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



arms, if Brigid required him. Our saint s messengers then asked what 
caused a delay, which prevented the king from proceeding further on his 
journey. His retinue replied, although riding much, they knew God s pro 
vidence had delayed them, that Brigid might be released from the leper s 
importunity. Giving praise to God and to our saint, the royal cortege soon 
arrived at their home. Her messengers returned to the holy abbess with 
the king s spear. This she immediately handed to the leper. Then, the 
saint and her guests partook of the banquet provided, 77 and while thankin- 
the Almighty for favours received, 78 there can hardly be a doubt, she felt 
grateful to the high-minded and generous dynast, who had so great a re 
verence for his pious hostess. 

Unless referred to an early period of her life, it is very difficult to recon 
cile with exact chronology the following statements, contained in St. Brigid s 
Acts. The holy abbess possessed that benign and ingenious power, which 
could pacify those fiery and passionate spirits, whose ebullitions gave rise to 
so many private and public quarrels. Her blessing was the harbinger of 
peace. 79 One day, walking near the road-side. Connall, son to Niall sup 
posed to be the Monarch of the Nine Hostages came towards Brigid, who 
was accompanied by her nuns. Now, the last-mentioned celebrated king 
had two sons o so named ; one being distinguished as Connall Crimthann, 81 
while the other was called Connall Gulban. 82 As the latter 8 ^ died, A.D. 464,* 



77 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumnturga. " 
Vita Quarta S. Brigi ku, lib., ii., cap. xxv. , 
p. 553. See also. Vita Tertia S. Brigidte, 
cap. lv., p. 533, ibid. 

7 s See the Abbate IX Gincomo Oertani s 
account of the foregoing occurrences in " La 
Sanlita Procligiosa. Vita cli S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libro Quarto, pp. 303 to 308. 

79 See L. Tachet do Barnevai s " Ilistoire 
Legendaire de 1 Irlande," chap, viii., pp. 
So, Si. 

80 Their respective deaths are commemo 
rated, in Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i. 

81 Conall Cremthoinn was ancestor to the 
O Melaghlins, who bore the tribe-name of 
Clann-Colmain, and to other ancient and 
powerful families in Meath. From this 
prince were descended seventeen Irish 
monarchs. There were nine monarchs of 
Ireland, belonging to the race of Aedh 
Slaine, who was himself monarch of Ire 
land, from A.D. 599 to 605. When sur 
names had been established, the chief fa 
mily of his race took the surname of O Kelly 
Breagh. This clan settled in the great plain 
of Bregia, towards the east of ancient Meath. 
See O Flaherty s " Ogygia," pars iii., cap. 
Ixxxv., p. 410, and cap. xciii., p. 431. 

82 The Cinel-Conaill, or Conall s race, 
are the O Donnells and their correlative 
families, in Tyrconnell, or the county of 
Donegall ; while Magh-Slecht was the plain 
around Ballymagauran, in the north-west 
part of Cavan County. Here Conall Gul 
ban was killed by the Masraidhe, an an 
cient Firbolg tribe, who lived in that place, 
as the Book of Fenagh mentions. The 
prince had gone into their territory on a 
predatory excursion, and he had seized a 



great prey of horses ; but, he was pursued 
and overtaken at Loch Saloch, near Fe 
nagh, in the county of Leitrim. Here, he 
was slain and buried. The account of 
Conall Gulban having been buried by St. 
Cailiin is said to be an anachronism and a 
fabrication of the writer of St. Caillin s 
Life, preserved in the "Book of Fenagh." 
St. Cailiin is reputed a contemporary of St. 
Columkille, and consequently he could 
hardly have been born in 464, much less 
have been abbot of Fenagh in Magh-Rein. 
There is much to be read not, however, of 
a very well-authenticated character -- re 
garding Conall Gulban in "The Book of 
Fenagh." in Irish and English, originally 
compiled by St. Cailiin, Archbishop, Ab 
bot, anil Founder of Fenagh alias Dunbally 
of Moy-Rein, temp ore S. 1 atricii ; with the 
contractions resolved, and (as far as pos 
sible) the original Text restored. The 
whole carefully revised, indexed, and cor 
rectly annotated, by \V. M.. Hennessy, 
M.R.I. A., and done into English by D. H. 
Kelly, M.R.I. A. See pp. 89, 91, 93, 95, 
97, 139, 141, 143, 147, 155, 157, 159, 161, 
225, 235, 243, 253,265, 313, 317, 323, 325, 
359, 395. 405, 409- 

83 In Dr. O Conors " Rerum Hibernica- 
rum Scriptores," at A. 0.464, we find, in the 
hiatus, which supplies the "Annals of 
Tigernach," an account of the death of 
Conallus Gulban, from whom the family of 
Tir-Connel derives its origin. Seep. 113, 
tomus ii. 

84 In Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," at A.D. 464, we read : 
li Conall Gulban, son of Xiall of the Nine 
Hostages (troin whom are descended the 
Cinel-Conaill), was slain by the old tribes 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



137 



and as the former lived to A.D. 4J5, S5 or even later ; S6 it is only reasonable to 
suppose, that Conall Crimthann was the prince, who addressed the abbess in 
these terms : " O holy virgin, bestow on me your special benediction, lest 
my brother Carbrey 8 ? kill me, on account of the kingdom." God s pious 
servant said to him : " Let your soldiers precede me, and I will bless you, 
following them/ At her request, the soldiers preceded them, on their 
march. When the whole company advanced through the hills, one of her 
nuns said to St. Brigid : " O mother, what shall we do ? Behold. Carbrey, 88 
the brother of this prince, approaches, and these brothers will strike 
each other. Our saint replied, that the Almighty would prevent such an 
accident. S 5 At the same time, Carbrey came up to Brigid, and he said to 
her : " O holy virgin, bless me, because I fear meeting my brother Conall,9 
in these parts. A film was drawn over the brothers eyes.9 1 Afterwards, all 
went together with the abbess, while the hostile brothers did not recognise 
each other, owing to our saint s prayers. 9 2 At length, parting in different 
directions, the brothers Connall^ and Carbrey 94 even kissed each other, as 



of Magh-Slecht, he having been found un 
protected, and he wa> buried at Fidhnach- 
Maighe-Rein, by St. Cuillin, a-; the life of 
the aforesaid saint relates." Vol. i., p. 147. 
Also, see "The liook of Fenagh," edited 
by W. M. Ilennessy and J). II. Kelly, pp. 
96, 97. 

*2 In Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Makers," at A.I). 475, \ve find: 
"Conall Cremhthoinn, son of Xia.l of t he- 
Nine Hostages, Ironi \vlioni arc sprung the 
Clanu Colniain, and the race of Aedh Slaine, 
died." Vol. i., p. 140. 

86 At the year 480, the Ulster Annals" 
record the death of Conaill me Cremtainne 
me Xeill. In a note, Dr. O Conor observes, 
that the territory of Tyrconnel; derived its 
name from him. See " Kenim Iliberiiicarum 
Scriptores," tomtis iv. , p. 6, and n. ibid. 
This is incorrect, however, as all Iri-h ge 
nealogists and historians are unanimous in 
Stating, I yrconnell dUtrct deriveil its name 
from his brother, Connall (nilhan. 

87 At A.D. 500, the " Annais of Ulster" 
state, that Carbre, the son of Xeill, fought 
the battle (if the \Ylrite liill or Clmuic 
Ailbe against the Lein-te: men. See Dr. 
O Conor s " Rerum Hibernicarum Scrip- 
tores," tomus iv.. p. 10. 

83 See "The Life of St. Ilrigid," by an 
Irish Priest, chap, ix., pp. 121, 122. 

8 ^CoIgan remarks, that it is doubtful 
which Conall had been mentioned in the 
text ; whether Conall Gulban, or Conall 
Cremthainn. lie thinks, that the quarrel, 
here alluded to between Conall and his bro 
ther Carpry or Carbrey, must have had re 
ference to some extension or arrangement of 
territory. At this period, Carbrey held a 
tract of country, ca led after his own name 
Carbre, even to times less remote. It was 
situated in the province of Connaught, and it 
lay conterminous to the principality of 
Conall Cjulban. lie had another tract in 
the district of Tefua, near the bounds of 



Conall Cremthoinn s lands in Meath. For 
merly this tract was called Carbre Teflia, to 
distinguish it from the other. 

" On both the foregoing accounts, Carbrey 
could be committed to a quarrel with either 
Conall ; yet, Colgan thinks the dispute in 
question lay between him and Conall Crim 
thann, for these reasons. As St. Brigid is 
supposed to have been born in 453, she was 
not a nun, and could only have been twelve 
years of age, at the time of Conall Gulban s 
death, in 464, while she was an abbess, and 
distinguished for her miracles, about the year 
475, \\lu-n Conall Crimthann is thought to 
have died. See "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Terlia S. Urigichu, n. 38, p. 544- 

See the account of this adventure in L. 
Tachet de Barneval s " Ilistoire Le gendaire 
de 1 Irlande," chap, viii., pp. 77, "jS. 

tj - At A. I). 475. the Annals of Inisfallen" 
changing the lorm of his name note the 
demise of McConailie, me Cremthaine, meic 
Neill. See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiber 
nicarum Scripture^," tomus ii., p. 3. 

" Again, in the hiatus, which supplies the 
" Annals of Tigernach," as if according with 
the Four Masters nnd the " Chronicum Sco- 
toium, at A.D. 475, is noted the death of 
Conal us Crimthan, son to Niall of the 
Nine Hostages, from whom the Clan-Colman 
O Neills are derived, and the race of Aedh 
Slane. Seep 116, ibid. 

54 This is said to have been the same Car 
brey or Carprey, an infidel, who refused to 
receive baptism, at St. Patrick s hands, and 
on whom a malediction was pronounced by 
the Irish Apostle. See William M. Hen- 
newsy s translation of the Irish Tripartite 
Life of St. Patrick, part ii., in Miss M. F. 
Cusack s "Life of St. Patrick, Apostle of 
Ireland," p. .96. Vet, he must have re 
pented at a subsequent period probably he 
received baptism and became a Christian ; 
as otherwise, it is not likely he would have 
asked a blessing from St. Brigid. 



OF ST. BRIGID. 



if they had been most devoted friends.? 5 When this occurrence became 
fully known, God s holy providence and the fame of St. Brigid, as a peace 
maker, were universally extolled. 9 6 

Again, a legend was in vogue, that on another occasion, when about to 
invade the country of the Picts.9? who often warred with the Britons, 1 ? 8 this 
same Conall, accompanied by his soldiers, bearing their hostile emblems or 
standards,^ came to St. Brigid. He then said : " O Saint of God, we crave 
your blessing, for we are about to invade distant territories to defeat our 
enemies/ The saint replied : " I entreat the Omnipotent Lord, my God, 
that, in this instance, you neither inilict injury on any one, nor suffer it your 
selves, wherefore lay aside those diabolical emblems." Although she was un 
able to prevent the war, God was graciously pleased to grant those prayers 
of the holy virgin. On hearing her words, the hostile bands sailed for the 
country of the Crutheni, 100 in the northern part of Britain. 101 Then, the Irish 
invaders thought they had taken possession of a certain entrenched camp or 
castle, 102 besieged by them, that they had burned it, and had killed many of 
their enemies, who were beheaded. 103 Afterwards, the leader and his 



93 See Abbate D. Giacomo Ccrtani s "La 
Santita Frodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 343 to 346. 

96 See Colgan s * Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. xxxvi., 
p. 555- Also, Vita TertiaS. Brigidae, cap. 
Ixvi., p. 534, ibid. 

97 A learned and researchful Scottish 
writer has observed, that the Pictish period 
of Caledonian history embraces a course of 
three hundred and ninety-seven years, viz., 
from the date of the Roman abdication of 
the government of North Britain, A. D. 446, to 
the subversion of the Pictish government, A. D. 
843. He adds, " there can be no doubt, that 
the Picts were Celts, and that they were no 
other than a part of the race of the ancient 
Caledonians under another name. "A 
History of the Highlands and of the High 
land Clans," by James Browne, Esq., 
LL. D., vol. L, chap, iii., p. 60. 

J * I 1 " or nearly forty years after the rule of 
Constantine III., the Britons languished 
under a continual war, during the earlier 
part of the fifth century. See Sir Winston 
Churchhill s " Divi Britannici : being a 
Remark upon the Lives of all the Kings of 
this Isle, from the year of the World 2855, 
unto the year of Grace 1660." Sect. i. 
Class of Britones. Vortigern, p. 93. 

99 Extern to any evidence contained in the 
ancient Lives of St. Brigid, the Abbate D. 
Giacomo Certani who records these inci 
dentsasserts, that the standards were orna 
mented with the figures of some false Gods, 
and that they were inscribed with magical 
characters. Sec "La Santita Prodigiosa. 
Vita cli S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, 
pp. 346 to 348. 

uo The Picts were called Cruithne, by the 
ancient Irish, in the idiom of this latter 
people. They are also called Cruachna, 
being the older Pictish or Celtic race of 
Scotland. See Daniel Wilson s " Archae 



ology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland," 
part i., chap, iii., p. 59. 

101 " The geographical position of the 
British and Irish coasts sufficiently accounts 
for frequent intercourse between the natives 
of Scotland and Ireland from the earliest 
periods." ... " The remarkable an 
cient historical Gaelic poem, generally termed 
the ALBANIC DUAN, written in its present 
form in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, about 
the middle of the eleventh century, thus re 
fers to the first peopling of Scotland and 
the Irish origin of the northern Picts : 

" Ye learned of all Albin, 
Ye wise yellow-haired race, 
Learn who was the first 
To acquire the districts of Albin. 

" Albanus acquired them with his race, 
The illustrious son of Isiscon, 
Brother to Britus, without treachery, 
From him Albin of ships takes its name. 



" The Cruithne acquired the western region, 
After they had come from the plains of 

Erin : 

Seventy noble kings of them 
Acquired the Cruithen plains." 

See ibid., part iv., chap, i., p. 468. 

102 A distinguished modern historian has 
asserted of Scotland: "The country is 
crowded with hill -fortresses, small and 
great ; they may be counted by hundreds. 
They consist of mounds of earth or stone, 
or both, running round the crests of hills." 
John Hill Burton s " History of Scotland, 
from Agricola s Invasion to the Revolution 
of 1688," vol. i., chap, iii., p. 91. 

103 See this account in L. Tachet de Bar- 
neval s " Histoire Legendaire de 1 Irlande," 
chap, viii., pp. So, 8l. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. I39 

bands returned to their own country, with great rejoicing and in fancied 
triumph. According to the legendary account, however, all this turned out 
to be a complete illusion, and when they had landed at the port for which 
they were bound in Ireland, it was only then dispelled. This was soon 
learned from the report of trustworthy messengers. Connell is said to have 
given praise to God, when he learned that no loss of life had occurred. He 
resolved on seeing the- abbess. When he came to the place where St. 
Erigid resided, I0 he related all that had happened. Then, he and his 
forces laid aside their warlike emblems, at St. Brigid s request. She said to 
Conall : " Because you have renounced these badges at my suggestion, in 
whatever danger you may be placed, invoke my intercession, and the Al 
mighty will defend you on my account, and you shall be preserved from 
danger." I0 5 This promise of the saint was afterwards fulfilled. Some time 
subsequently, Conall, with a large army, invaded the territories of his ene 
mies, when he obtained a great victory over them. 106 Afterwards, he re 
turned in triumph, towards his own country. When Conall had nearly 
reached his own dominions, night came on, and he entered a deserted fort 
or castle, by the way-side. There, his soldiers remarked to him, that they 
should incur great danger, by remaining so near the haunts of their enemies. 
These, stealing on them unawares, would be likely to follow, and might kill 
them while sleeping. The prince replied : " The night is now at hand, and 
I am fatigued ; yet know, that the pious Brigid hath promised she will de 
fend me in every difficulty, whenever I invoke her assistance. I believe, 
what she hath predicted must infallibly come to pass. On this night, I com 
mend myself and my forces, to God s Divine protection, through her holy 
invocation. As had been suspected, their enemies stealthily came that 
night on their track. When his pursuers approached that fort where 
Connall 10 ? lay, they sent forward three scouts to examine it. 103 On entering, 
these only found a great number of persons sitting there, in clerical habits, 10 ? 
with a light in the midst, and with books open before them. The soldiers 
had placed their enemies heads in that order, now represented by the books, 
on the perusal of which the clerics seemed intent. 110 On returning, his 
spies told their chiefs what they had seen, and again the leaders despatched 
three other scouts to return and report the result of their errand. As in the 
former instance, clerics were seen reading their books. Whereupon, the 
band of ConalFs enemies returned to their homes. On the following day, 
ambassadors were sent to Conall, 111 and these asked him for those heads 



104 This might have been at Kildare, if we Muircheartach Mac Ere were victors. Ard- 
accept the late period assigned for Conall s gal was probably son to this Connall ; for 
death. The " Annales Buelliani," atA.u. again, at 522, the battle of Detnea (Conaill 
487, enter, " Mors Conaill." See I)r, Chremhtaine me Neill) is entered in the 
O Conor s " Rerum Ilibernicarum Scrip- " Ulster Annals," as if this might be a more 
tores," tomus ii., p. 3. See, also, John correct date. See p. 13. 

D Alton s " History of Ireland and the An- Iu8 See " The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

nals of Boyle," vol. ii., p. 72. Irish Priest, chap, ix., pp. 117, 118. 

105 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La I0 s D. Giacomo Certani, who relates these 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida adventures, calls those clerics as in many 
Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 348 to 351. other such cases Canons Regular. This, 

06 The place where this victory was however, is but a phantasy of the author, 

gained is not recorded. See " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita S. Bri- 

10 7 In Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Iliberni- gida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 351 to 

carum Scriptores," tomus iv., the " Annals 354. 

of Ulster" relate, at 519, the battle of Det- I10 See L. Tachet de Barneval s "His- 

nea, in Drumbadh, or in the hills of Bregia, toire Legendaire de 1 Irlande," chap, viii., 

in which fell Ardgal, son of Conaill, son to pp. 81, "82. 

Neill. Colga, King of the Easterns, and " From his great-grandson, Colman the 



I4 o LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



which he had taken with him, that so they might be interred with the decapi 
tated bodies. On delivering this message, the petitioners obtained their de 
mand, and returned to their chiefs. These learned, afterwards, how Conall 
and his army had been really in that place, where they remained invisible to 
their pursuers. The legend of our Saint s Acts relates, that such circum 
stances, becoming known to the people on either side, caused them to glorify 
God s name, and to extol that of Brigid."- Thus, where iniquity and strife 
abounded, her gentle and charitable soul desired that grace and peace should 
more abound. 



CHAPTER X. 

ANCIENT IRISH HOSPITALITY BISHOP BROON S VISIT TO ST. BRIGID THE EIGHT 
BISHOPS OF TULLACH NA N-ESPUC HOLY BRIGID S LOVE FOR THE POOR HER 
GENEROUS GOOD NATURE HER GENTLENESS OF MANNEDILLUSTRATION OF 
SUCH CHARACTERISTICS HER CHAPLAIN, NATFROICH ST. NINNIDH ST. CON- 
LEATH APPOINTED BISHOP OF KILUARE. 

IN Ireland of the olden time, hospitality was a characteristic of her nobles 
and of her simple-minded people. Each tribe had its Biatach 1 and its affini 
ties ; 2 the stranger and wanderer were welcomed to friendly homes ; while 
the bard tuned his harp, when the generous host held forth his hand to the 
honoured guest. Should not our great saints then be received with all 
possible manifestations of respect while on their travels ? More temperate 
than most others, they could partake of wine and metheglin without degene 
racy; while, their sources of wealth, like the faith which created it, seemed 
inexhaustible and bid defiance to prodigality. Kings, with their suite, and 
even with their army, often sat down at the table of a poor bishop, anchorite 
or religious, and partook of frugal fare, frequently supplied in a most Provi 
dential manner. 3 

Such was her respect for those men deserving it, that Brigid paid them 
every mark of attention and politeness ; while, her modesty was so great, 
that she never presumed to look fully on the face of any man. 4 Yet, she 
was always joyful, when distinguished bishops came to her home. From a 
circumstance hereafter related, it may be possible, that St. Brigid was living 



Great, the Clan-Colman is derived. See find allusions to the t)iAccAi5 or " pur- 

Tolin D Alton s " History of Ireland, and veyors." See Professor Eugene O Curry s 

the Annals of Boyle," vol. ii.. p. 72. " .Manners and Customs of the Ancient 

112 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," Irish." Edited by Dr. \V. K. Sullivan, 

Vita Quarta S. lirigida.-, lib. ii., cap. xxxvii., vol. iii. Appendix, pp. 438, 442. 

xxxviii ., pp. 555, 556. Also, Vita Tertia 3 See the glowing account of L. Tachet 

S. Brigida:, cap. Ixvii., pp. 534, 535, ibid. de Barneval, in " Histoire Legendaire de 

CHAPTER x. The t>i<YOCAch or Biatagh ITrlande," chap, viii., p. 79. He adds: 

was a public officer, whose duties were to " Quelquefois meme un saint voyageur 

supply the king s household with provisions, venait au secours de son hote surpris au de- 

to furnish necessaries for the army, and to pourvu, et les convives, apres un instant 

provide entertainment for travellers. See d inquietude, voyaient les mets et la liqueur 

Dr. O Brien s " Focaloir-Gaoidhilge-sax- renaitre au fond des vases, et remonter aux 

Bhearla, or an Irish-English Dictionary," bords des coupes. Alors on benissait Dieu, 

in v. Also, "Tracts relating to Ireland," et le festin reprenait, plus joyeux et plus 

printed for the Irish Archa-ological Society, Chretien." 

vol. ii. "The Statute ot Kilkenny, edited 4 Such is the account contained in her 

by James Hardiman, n. (e), pp. 4, 5. metrical acts : 

2 In that ancient Irish tract, known as " Omnibus ilia viris dignos prabebat ho- 

the "Tain Bo Chuailgne," or, " The Cattle nores, 

Prey of Cooley," as found in " Tne Book Nee tamen ipsa virum in faciem con- 

of Leinster," class H. 2, 18, T.C.D., we spexerat ullum." 



Ln 



near the shore of Leinster,s when the following recorded occurrence took 
place. Holy Bishop Broon, on whose behalf St. Brigid wrought a wonderful 
miracle, came to visit the illustrious virgin. He brought with him horses, 
chariots, and a considerable following of attendants. 6 Approaching the 
monastery of our saint, night came on darkly around them, and they were 
exposed to inclement, wintry weather, in the midst of a thick wood.? 
Having a revelation regarding this circumstance, Brigid said to her virgins : 
Let us pray, my daughters, for holy guests, who are approaching us, under 
great privations, that the Lord may compassionate their labours. 1 s Then 
Bishop Broon and his companions had a vision of St. Brigid s monastery, and 
of St. Brigid, with her companions, joylully setting out to meet them. Our 
saint immediately led them into a large hall, prepared for their reception. 
Having taken oft their sandals, she washed their feet, and then refreshed 
them with abundance of meat and drinks Scotic cups were placed before 
the strangers. 10 The nuns also took care of their vehicles, as it seemed, and 
placed beds for them to lie upon, while supplying them with ail things 
necessary for their maintenance. When morning dawned, St. Brigid addressed 
the nuns 1 of her monastery: " Let us go forth to meet Bishop Broon and 
his companions, straying in a wood during the past night. ;; Then our saint 
with her virgins went out and soon found their expected guests, sitting down 
in the forest. The travellers thus learned, that God had wrought a miracle 
in their favour, on St. Brigid s account ; for, they related what happened to 
them, as if the abbess had been ignorant of it. Afterwards, they gave thanks 
to God, while joyfully proceeding with His illustrious servant to her monastery. 



5 Father John Boland, in treating about 
the other religious establishments of St. 
Brigid, seems to overlook the statement, that 
she lived near the maritime part of Leinster. 
See " Acta Sanctorum," tomus i. Febru- 
arii. Commentarius Pnx-vius ad Vitam S. 
Brigidiu Virginis Scoto; Thaumaturge, Kil- 
darirc et Duni in Ilibernia. Sec. V. Kil- 
dariense, et alia S. Brigida? monasteria, 32, 
33. 34, 35. 36, pp. 105, 106. 

Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, who relates 
this adventure, makes his attendants Regular 
Canons, but without any warrant. See 
" La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita cli S. Bri- 
gida." Libro Sesto, p. 481. 

7 This adventure is related in the Bolland- 
ists " Acta Sanctorum," tomus i., Februarii. 
Vita Prima S. Brigidiu. Auctore Anonymo, 
cap. xiii , p. 130. 

* The author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life 
afterwards adds: "Mira multum, fratres 
charissimi, dicturus sum vobis, " &c. These 
words seem to indicate, that the Life in ques 
tion had been intended for monastic spiritual 
lectures. See Colgan s "Trias Thauma- 
turga." Quarta Vita S. Brigidce, lib. ii., 
cap. Iviii., p. 559. 

9 When they arrived at St. Brigid s mon 
astery, it is stated : 

" Postquam rite cibo sanctorum membra 

refecit, 
Pra-sulis et pedibus tepidas asperserat 

undas 
Ilia sitim propter post Scotica pocula 

ponit." 



Vita Sexta S. Brigidie, xv., pp. 584, 
5S5, ibid. The Scottish or Irish cups here 
alluded to were probably "methers," of 
which many specimens are still preserved. 
In Sir William K. Wilde s " Descriptive 
Catalogue of the Antiquities of Stone, 
Earthen and Vegetable Materials in the 
Museum of the Royal Irish Academy," there 
is an interesting account of ancient methers 
and drinking vessels, with characteristic 
illustrations, part i., class iii., pp. 214 to 
218. Also part ii., class iv., pp. 264 to 
267. 

10 Most probably they were regaled with 
mead, a favourite drink of the ancient 
Irish, as with the Teutons of Northern 
luirope. This was quaffed from metlicrs, 
generally modelled from alder wood, crab- 
tree, sometimes from sycamore or sallow. 
They were quadrangulirly formed, at the 
top, ahhough usually rounded at the bot 
tom. Those who used them drank from 
the angles. Sometimes two and sometimes 
four handles are found on specimens yet 
preserved. See an interesting article " On 
Methers and other ancient Drinking Ves 
sels," by Thomas Joseph Tenison, J.P., in 
"The Proceedings and Papers of the Kil 
kenny and South-east of Ireland Archaeolo 
gical Society for the year 1860," vol. iii., 
part i. New Series, pp. 54 to 6l. 

11 As usual, Abbate D. Giacomo Certani 
makes them canonesses. His local and 
modern ideas often lead him astray. See 
" La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Iberncse." Libro Sesto, p. 483. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



St. Brigid had previously gone out to the wood, according to her knowledge 
of their case. There they supposed themselves enjoying her monastic hospi 
talities. 12 The holy bishop remained with her for some days. Then, with 
his people, Broon returned to his own part of the country. On bidding him 
farewell, St. Brigid bestowed a Chrismal^ on the bishop, which he prized as 
a valuable gift. She was accustomed then to give many rich presents to 
pilgrims and to the poor. On a certain day, after the foregoing occurrences, 
while this bishop travelled by the sea-shore, 14 his disciple, who bore St. 
Brigid s Chrismal, 15 left it behind him, through forgetfulness. 16 Recollecting 
such omission, he came to the bishop, and told what had occurred, while 
his eyes were suffused with tears. The holy bishop assured the monk he 
ought not weep, for the devil should have no power to deprive him of a gift 
bestowed by St. Brigid. The disciple had left that Chrismal by the shore, 
near low water-mark. During his absence, the sea-waves passed over it, at 
full tide. The brother, on his return, saw the sea in this latter condition, 
and waited for its ebb. At length the waves receded to where the travellers 
stopped. There he happily found the vessel. 1 ? The disciple showed his 
Chrismal to Bishop Broon. Then the latter gave thanks to God and to His 
holy servant, Brigid. 18 

On one occasion, eight bishops 1 ^ came from a church, called Tolach na 
nEspuc, 20 in the territory of Hi-Briun-chualann, 21 on a visit to St. Brigid. 22 
She then dwelt near the margin of a lake, thenceforward to be denominated 
Loch-leamhnachta. 23 The holy virgin felt rejoiced at the arrival of such a 



12 In the Sixth Metrical Life of our saint, 
this miraculous occurrence is more poetically 
described, and with those additional circum 
stances of the travellers entertaining some 
illusion, that the night passed by them in 
the woods seemed to have been spent with 
in the walls of St. Brigid s institution, while 
her nuns appeared ministering to all their 
wants. 

13 See the Bollandists " Acta Sanctorum," 
tomusL, Februarii. Vita Prima S. Brigi 
da;, Virginis, cap. xiii., p. 130. 

14 It is difficult to say, whether this visit 
of Bishop Broon and his companions was to 
a convent of St. Brigid, while she was in 
Westmeath, or in Connaught, at Kildare, 
or at her place of residence, beside the Irish 
Sea. The course of his journey by the sea 
shore would seem favourable to the latter 
identification. However, as the occurrence 
in question took place, after his visit to St. 
Brigid, Bishop Broon might have been tra 
versing some other and more distant mari 
time part of Ireland. 

15 It is called "Chrisma," which word 
lias various ecclesiastical applications. It 
is sometimes used for a Chrismal, or vessel 
in which the Chrisma or Holy Oil is kept ; 
sometimes for the ciborium, in which the 
Body of our Lord is placed. But the word 
has a variety of other meanings, which will 
be found in Du Gauge s " Glossarium Me 
dia; et Infinite Latinitatis," tomus ii., pp. 
338 to 340. 

16 The Third Life of our saint states, that 
it was left on a stone, which lay by the sea* 
shore. 



17 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 481 to 488. 

18 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Quarta S. Brigida;, lib. ii., cap. Iviii., 
lix., lx., p. 559. See also, Vita Tertia S. 
Brigidse, cap. Ixxxv., Ixxxvi., p. 538, ibid. 

19 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 
St. Brigid, it is mentioned, that certain 
pious nobles, viz., the seven bishops of Tea- 
lach, in the west (? east) of Leinster, came 
as guests to the holy abbess. See pp. 37, 
38. Afterwards, they are mentioned, as 
belonging to Uibh Bruin Cualunn, and to 
Tealach na Nespoc, which was in that terri 
tory. See pp. 41, 42. 

20 It is Latinized " Collis Episcoporum." 

21 A sept living here bestowed a name on 
this territory, which comprised the greater 
part of Rathdown barony, in the present 
county of Dublin, with a northern portion 
of Wicklow county. In O Clery s Irish 
Calendar, the churches of Cill-Inghine- 
Leinin, now Killiney, Tigh-Chonaill, now 
Stagonnell, and Dunmore, were placed 
within this district. See Dr. O Donovan s 
"Annals of the Four Masters," vol. i., n. 
(n), p. 340. 

22 Professor O Looney s Irish Life of St. 
Brigid affirms, that the bishops found her in 
a place by the side of Gill Dara, on the 
north. See pp. 41, 42. 

23 It is difficult to identify this place. A 
little to the north-west of Kildare, Lough 
Minane or the Friar s Lough, is noted on 
the "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for 
the County of Kildare," Sheet 22. By Rev. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



company of venerable guests, who were probably Chorepiscopi, 2 * and she 
went to the cook, named Blathnata, 23 to see if this latter had any refresh 
ments provided for their entertainment. Her cook replied, she had not a 
sufficiency of viands, and especially nothing in the shape of beverage was 
ready. Such an account caused St. frigid to experience a momentary con 
fusion ; but, recurring to prayer, an angel intimated to her, that her cows 
should be milked. When this had been effected, these cows gave such a 
quantity of milk, that all vessels in the place were soon filled. It is even 
said, the milk flowed in a stream along the ground towards a certain hollow, 
which was filled with this nourishing fluid. In after-times, that spot received 
the corresponding Irish name, Loch-leamnachta. 26 or the lake of milk." 

The situation of Tolach or Tulloch na n-Espoc in Ui Briun Chualann 
identifies it with the ancient church of Tullagh, between Loughlinstown and 
Cabinteely. It gives name to the parish of Tully, 2 ? in the barony of Rath- 
down, and county of Dublin. On a green eminence, and embosomed 
among venerable elder trees, thickly interlaced with a few hawthorn and 
ash trees, are the ruins of its old church. The semi-circular choir-arch, the 
diminutive proportions of this buiiding, and the rude stone crosses, with 
other memorials there, bespeak its antiquity. 28 One of the crosses stands on 
the road outside the graveyard ; 2 9 the other remains in an opposite field. 30 
Various stone fragments are scattered around the latter. Owing to these 
circumstances, it has been inferred, that Tullagh had been one of those 
sanctuaries or asylums, benevolently intended to protect the penitent or the 
persecuted, at a time when violence prevailed, and too often frustrated the 
demands of justice. 31 The existing remains are a good-sized chancel 25 
by 1 8 feet to which a corresponding nave had never been built. Judging 
by the marks on its western wall, the old nave to which it was added 
measured only 15 feet in width. 32 Here are some curiously incised rude 
stone monuments. 33 The late George V. Da Noyer and Mr. H. Parkinson 
have drawn and described these objects. 3 * A pictoral illustration^ of the 



John F. Shearman, "Lough Minane" is in- and it bears some carvings in alto-relievo, 

terpreted " the kid s pool." on one side. 

- 4 "The early annalists of Ireland give 3I See John D Alton s "History of the 

ordinarily such a representation of the pre- County of Dublin." The author supposes 

lates whom \vc now speak of, and of the this church to have been originally built by 

functions which these dignitaries admi- the Danes, and dedicated to their martyr- 

nistered, as shows, that they regarded these king St. Olave, who was slain on the 29th 

ecclesiastics as really belonging to the cpis- of July, A.D. 1030. See pp. 930, 931. 

copal order." Rev. P. J. Carew s " Eccle- 3 - " The opes of all the windows have 

siastical History of Ireland," chap. iv. , pp. boon built up, so that the mouldings cannot 

127, 128. be seen ; but the mere fact of the windows 

25 Called also Blath or Flora. She is having round arches internally is not incon- 

honoured with a festival, at the 290"! of sistent with the late date (viz., perhaps after 

January. the I2th or 1 3th century) ascribed above to 

- 6 In his additions to St. TEnguss the the church." Dr. J. A. Purefoy Colics 

Culdee s Martyrology, at the 1st of Febru- communication in the "Journal of the Royal 

ary, Charles Maguire relates, the foregoing Historical and Archaeological Association of 

incidents. Ireland," A.D. 1870, vol. i., part i. Fourth 

27 It is shown on the " Ordnance Survey series, n. i., pp. 210, 211. 

Townland Maps for the County of Dublin," 33 Of these two illustrations are given by 

Sheets 22, 23, 25, 26. Dr. J. A. Purefoy Colles. See ibid., p. 

28 See John D Alton s "History of the 210. 

County of Dublin," p. 931. ^ See "Proceedings of the Royal Irish 

29 This is of a northern order, and sup- Academy," vol. viii., p. 6l, and vol. x., pp. 
posed to be a perforated Odin cross, by Led- 340 to 342. 

wich, who is a very poor authority on the 35 This is from a drawing by Bigari, which 

subject. was in possession of the Right Hon. William 

30 This is of the Maltese shape, very tall, Conyngham. It represents the scene par- 



14-1 



ui< Si. 



old church has been given by Grose,3 3 with a letterpress account by Led- 
wich.37 Some of the features represented as existing in the last century have 
since disappeared^ 8 

To our saint, as to a common centre of gravitation, a crowd of poor and 
afflicted persons daily resorted, to seek relief in their various necessities ;39 




Tullagh Old Church, County Dublin. 

some expecting bread, cheese, butter, meal or corn ; others requiring milk 
or some other kind of liquid : some asking for linen, wool and coverlids ; 
as they severally stood in need of these various articles/ And, as works of 
charity must be performed by persons, who seek the kingdom of God and 
His justice, 41 so this bounteous virgin, filled with the spirit of Christian 
magnanimity, could never bear to send the necessitous away unconsoled. 
Although, she often laboured under an insufficiency, or a total want of 
means, to give alms ; yet, the Divine riches were copiously showered upon 
her, in one way or another. The Almighty never refuses His assistance, 
whenever a sincere and an energetic effort of real charity is exercised, by any 
of His creatures. This was fully illustrated, on a certain occasion, when a 
great number of paupers came to our saint, earnestly wishing to procure a 
draught of beer, which they asked from her in charity. As the legend re 
lates, she had not this beverage, at the time, to assuage their thirst, and as 
she did not wish to refuse these poor people their request, Brigid thought of 



tially denuded of trees, with a fine cross in 
the foreground. 

36 See "Antiquities of Ireland," vol. ., 
,). 15. 

37 Ibia., pp. 15, 1 6. 

& The accompanying original sketch, by 
Mr. JohnO C. Robinson, Blackrock, county 
of Dublin, was taken in October, 1875, on 
the spot. It was drawn on the wood, by 
William F. Wakeman, and engraved by 



George A. Hanlon, Dublin. 

3y See Surius " De Probatis Sanctorum 
Historiis," Februarius, tomus i. Vita S. 
Brigidre, Virginis, p. 808. 

40 The attributes and characteristics of St. 
Brigid are expressed in the sixth Metrical 
Life ; where it is said, that various matters 
to bestow on the poor seemed as it were to 
increase under her very look. 

41 St. Matt, vi., 33. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the place, where she might procure it, and how it might be obtained While 
her cogitations ran on this subject, she saw, at a little distance, water that 
had been prepared for baths. 4* Asking for heavenly assistance, in enabling 
her to satisfy the expectations of that thirsty flock, she besought the Saviour 
of the world who promises every request to those who ask m his name ,43 
that he would enable her to convert this water into beer ; so that her beloved 
poor should not return more sorrowful than they came, and be disappointed 
in their petitions and expectations. For hope, often the only solace of 
miserable persons, had sustained them before their arrival, and as they felt 
assured their sufferings should be relieved by Ungid, so must a refusal to 
assist them weigh more heavily on their spirits.44 Approaching near that 
water, the Abbess impressed a sign of the cross on it, and invoking the 
name ot Christ, she blessed it. Then, lie, who had formerly changed 
water into wine, at the marriage feast of Cana, m Galilee,^ was pleased, 
ugh the merits of his holy servant, to change water into beer, m this pre- 
;ent instance. And, as on the former occasion, joy was brought to the 
hearts of those who celebrated the nuptials, by procuring that supplv of 
wine, winch had been desired ; so was St. Brigid rejoiced, when she had 
been enabled to present the thirsting multitude of pour, with beer instead of 
water, thus satisfying both their requests and their necessities. 6 Thus she 
seemed never to tire in bestowing Jarges.es on the poor and wretched. 

:e it happened, there had been a want ot bread, in a place where St. 

Brigid and her nuns lived. A certain well-disposed and benevolent man ,47 

itmg the eastern part ot the Lilly s plain, came to our abbess. He re- 

Bngid to permit some of her daughters to return with him, that they 

might oring back measures ot corn. When the nuns had been loaded with 

lit and had set out on their journey homewards, the Liffy was swollen 

beyond its banks, to such a degree, that they could not pass over, neither 

boat nor bridge affording them opportunity. There had been a ford, at the 

sual plau ot crossing. This men and animals could wade over, without 



The author of our samt s Fifth Life re- 

"^" ^ril T namettuncetm d 
balieis Urn liiberniensium natio 4 uam 

Scoorun frequenter uti solent. Frequent 
allusions are made to tin., custom, in the 
aeu ol Irish saints, where we are informed, 

e M ciam T. "M 00 "" 1 " r< tl V inu e 
ceotion 7 l H? H P q r , ^ 

bau s were n ucli u ^ | 1Uoreo r Kr tlial l " se 
Datlis were much used m private laniuies, 

at a very early period ol our ,ocial exigence, 

folloSou; old fri lf C tCh aPPCai V- haVC 
llovvcd our old Irish practice, m this in- 

stance, as in many other.,. The custom, 
hu S> early prevailing, has long survived 
Ranges ; and even among the pea- 

Practice of lerhllh P "^ M ^ y ^ 

practice ol teet bathing m \\ arm water, be- 





e . 

ve v m uch to hlS, SUP ?^i to ,^ lUnbu 1 te 
vciy mucn to health and to bodily relresh- 



St 



called lepers. See Vita Secunda S. Bri. 
fii l*, cap. ix., p. 5.9. VitaTertia S. Bri 
gid*. cap. civ., p. 540. Vita Quarta S Bri 
pd* lib u., cap. ixxiii, Colgan s "Trias 
Thaumaturga. " Tins and otht-r miraculous 
occurrence,, such as restoring s j , ht to one 
b0111 Wi . *c- are mentioned m her 
V ? ri U . s fficeS See "^onica Generaiis 
> iu ldi ; " ^ de Natal.bus, as also various 
Act, of the >amt 

*5 St. I olm n I to 1 1 



. 

Quinta Vita S. Brigidae, cap. xxxiv xxxv 
575 . Sexta Vita & S. BrigL p 583! 

Vita Frima S. Brigidae, 19, p. 516. 

ln lhe yixth lle thls ^ e , P el i lor of St> 

Bri id ls called a "ble, and it is ,aid, 



dedit P ueris sacc;os similagine plenos, 
i"is ancilias dimisitdemque onustas." 

this U Would a PP ear that the 
t0 St Bri - id cullilsted of 



t out 



14 r, LIFE OF ST. RIGID. 

much difficulty, except in time of floods. The nuns then sat down on the 
river bank, and invoked St. Brigid to aid them, at this juncture Imme 
diately, they were all transported with their burdens to the opposite bank, 
through St. Brigid s merits and the power of God; but, removed by what 
means, or in what manner, remained a secret to them. Coining to their 
superioress, they related that miracle which had taken place, when the holy 
abbess told them, to conceal it from the world.* 8 Yet, a knowledge of this 
wonderful incident could not be suppressed, because others heard about it, 
before Brigid had issued her mandate. 9 

One day, a certain bishop, with a large retinue, visited the abbess. She 
was unprovided, at the time, with means necessary to afford refreshment for 
such a large number of persons. The Almighty, however, miraculously and 
instantaneously supplied her with food, sufficient for the refection of her 
guests. In like manner, on the same day, two other bishops arrived, at 
different hours. Those prelates were unexpected visitors to our saint. _Still 
refreshment was found wondrously provided for their wants.-* The saintly 
abbess had a cow, which gave an incredible quantity of milk._ A certain 
avaricious man entreated her to make him a present of that animal. With 
this request, Brigid is said to have complied. But, before the man had 
driven the cow to his lands, she gave no more milk than was customary, 
with other animals of her class. Afterwards, a generous man bestowed 
another cow for Brigid s use. Through a special permission of Providence, 
this beast proved equal to the former, in giving a copious supply of milk.* 1 

At another time, a woman came to St Brigid, saying : " U mother, what 
shall I do, regarding this son of mine ? For, he is almost an abortion, being 
blind from his birth, and having a tabulated face.5 2 Hence, his father 
wished to deprive him of life." Compassionating the distress of this woman, 
Brigid ordered the child s face to be washed in water that was near. Then, 
all former blemishes were removed, the Almighty restoring him, through St. 
Brigid s merits. This boy was called Cretanus or Crimthann," and he lived 
for a long time, after the removal of his deformity. s 

The following incidents are alluded to, in many of our saint s acts. A 
certain necessity required St. Brigid s presence, in one of her fields, and in 
connection with the interests of her institution. Knowing the boundless 
liberality of the saint, a young man, addicted to pleasantry, resolved to play 
off a joke at her expense, by obtaining under false pretences one of her 
sheep, that grazed on the pastures around ; although rich, and having no 



< See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La Life. In the Third Life, there is no men- 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida tion about the second cow given to St. 

Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 502 to 504. Brigid. 

See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " ^ Colgan explains the expressions, "ta- 

Vita Quarta S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. l.xix., bulatam iaciem," to mean a lace, plain like 

p. 560. Vita Tertia S. Brigida;, cap. xcviii., the surface of a table, having all its parts of 

P- 539,tWrf. See, also, Vita Sexta S. Bri- equal prominence, and of featureless defor- 

gidaa, sec. lx., p. 594, ibid. mity ; hence, deprived of those various or- 

50 See the Bollandists " Acta Sanctorum," gans of sense, to be found in more regularly 

tomus i., Februarii. Vita iv. S. Brigidae, formed features, 

lib. ii., cap. x., p. 169, " j n the Third Life, he is called Cretanus, 

= See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." and of him it is very unintelligibly said, 

Quarta Vita S. Brigidrc, lib. ii,, cap. Ixx., " quern afnrmant usque ad mortem dolorem 

p. 560. Vita Tertia S. Brigidrc, cap. ci., occulorum habuisse, sed turn sanos occulos 

p. 540, ibid. In this latter lile, the mira- semper habebat." 

culous supply of milk is said to have occurred, 54 See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

inconsequence of the arrival of three bishops Quarta Vita S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. Ixxi., 

and their companions, most probably those p. 560. Vita Tenia S. Bngidse, cap. cii, 

guests, already mentioned in the Fourth and n. 49, pp. 540, 545, ibid, 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. T47 

real necessity to appear otherwise, he assumed the garments and disguise of 
a pauper. S3 Appearing to sustain upon a staff his limbs, tottering with pre 
tended infirmity and want, he approached the holy abbess. His steps 
seemed unsteady, while drawing deep sighs, and with a voice broken and 
resumed only at intervals, he entreated that one sheep from her flock should 
be given to him. An appeal of the kind was seldom made in vain to St. 
Brigid ; the looks, gestures, and habit of the petitioner, inducing an opinion of 
his extreme poverty. His request was complied with, and a sheep was <nven 
which he conveyed to a suitable hiding-place. Encouraged by the success 
of this sportive experiment, he returned again, in another assumed disguise 
and habit. Again, he pleaded want of means and health; and, a^ain he 
received a sheep from the abbess. This he accepted with expressions of 
thanks, and removed it, to that place, in which he had left the other animal. 
This trick was repeated, no less than seven different times, and with like suc- 
:ess. But, God would not permit His holy servant to suffer any loss, owin* 
to her charitable credulity, nor would he allow the young man to derive any 
advantage, from his cunning deception. Those, who knew that St. Bri<nd 
had already lessened her flock by seven sheep, were surprised to find the 
original number of animals, when counted in the evening. So boundless was 
her large-hearted charity, that it was often almost undiscriminating. Those 
sheep, which had been hidden by the young man, were not found in their 
place of concealment, when it was examined * so that the jest, he practised 
upon the saint, redounded to his own confusion and ridicule.57 His day s 
futile labour and his falsely-assumed characters were made a subject for 
pleasantry, and directed by his acquaintances against himself. This gave 
him more annoyance than the loss of those animals he had surreptitiously 
acquired, in the hope of creating some merriment in the neighbourhood, s* 

The illustrious rcligieuse exercised a mysterious sway over wild beasts of 
tne forest, and birds of the air. 59 The following circumstance is attributed 
to the all-subduing influences of the gentle lady s virtues, and it is com- 
mended by Cogitosus to the attention of his brethren, for whose special 
edification the Acts of holy Brigid had been composed. To show how even 
irrational animals became subject to her will and words, while remaining tame 
and domesticated, he instances a wild boar, affrighted by his pursuers that 
fled from the woods. At last, that boar joined a herd of swine, belonging to 
St. Bngid. Finding him among her own animals, with her blessing the saint 
lused him to remain there in security, and he became perfectly domesti- 
One day, Brigid saw some wild ducks swimming in a. river, and 



ss in Professor O Looney s Irish Life of v See the foregoing account in Abbate 

bt. Brigid-where this story is noticed-this D. Giacomo Certam s " La Santita Prodi- 

deceiver is called a thief. See pp. 41, 42. giosa." Vita di S. Brigida Ibernesc. Libro 

s The matter is thus briefly related, in Sesto, pp. 504 to 507. 

the First Metrical Life; according to the 58 S uch i.s the detailed narrative, as fur- 

nishecl in the Vita Quinta S. lirigiclas, cap. 

v - < xu i-, p- 577- Colgan s "Trias Thauma- 

Vir importunus, qui postulavit turga." 

A Brigida propter amorem Doming 5* This is alluded to, in the Bollandists 

tomus L 



co. T -r h , - - 

Trias Thaumaturga." It is in Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. cix. p 540. 

like manner ment.oned, in Vita Secunda S. Quarta Vita S. Brigfd*, lib. ii. , cap. lxxit~ 

d*. cap. v,,,., p. SIQ . Tertia Vita S. p. 560. This circumstance is thus recorded 

& , K P -- CU1 " P - , 54 -- Qui 1 a Vlta S in the First Metr ^ Li^ according to the 

Brigida;, lib, 11., cap. kxn., p. 560, #*/. Latin version ; 



148 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



occasionally flying through the air. 61 These fowl she collected around her, 
in great numbers ; for, they flocked towards her, without any apparent ap 
prehension of danger, when they heard this holy virgin s gentle voice calling 
them. For some time, our saint caressed them, and covered them with her 
hand ; atterwards she allowed their return to their feathered companions. 2 

By her extraordinary practices of pie.y, Divine pouer was manifested 
through nei, in the following instance/ - 1 There was a certain very strong 
man, named Lugid, who is said to have had the physical strength oi twelve 
ordinary men, while his appetite for food was proportionately excessive. 
Lugid asked St. Brigid to petition God in his behalf, that his appetite might 
be restrained within reasonable bounds, while yet he might retain his bodily 
strength. The saint complied with his request, and gave him her blessing. 6 * 
Afterwards, this Lugid 65 was content with a quantity oi food usually necessary 
for the support of an ordinary man, while his strength 60 continued equal to 
the united bodily prowess of twelve labourers. 6 ? 

After St. Brigid came to her own city, certain religious men visited her, 
and preached the Divine Word, in her presence. Afterwards, the abbess 
told her cellarer or store-keeper 68 to prepare a dinner for her pious guests. 
Asking what kind of a meal should be prepared, she was told by Brigid, to 
set different dishes before them. 6 ? But, as the store-keeper had not means 
for complying with our saint s mandate, she requested the abbess to retire to 
the church and to pray there, trusting the result to Divine Providence. As 
already remarked, such had been the boundless charity of Brigid, that she 
immediately distributed to those in need, whatever the Almighty bestowed 
on her. Well knowing the real state of affairs, the abbess told her store- 



" Aper solebat venire in ejus gregem, 
Versus Aquilonem, ubi est vallis nunc: 
Quern Brigida baculo benedixit ; 
At cum grege jugiter permansit." 

Vita Prima S. Brigidze, sec. xxix., p. 516. 
This miracle is alluded to in our saint s 
offices. 

61 Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, who re 
lates this incident, states, that over these 
animals, St. Brigid exercised as absolute a 
dominion as could our first parents have 
practised in their terrestrial Paradise. See 
" La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Bri- 
gida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 516, 

S J 7- 

62 Sec Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. " 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. xcii., 
p. 562. Vita Tertia S. Brigidee," cxxvii., 
p. 541. This miracle seems the one alluded 
to, in the First Life, as related in the fol 
lowing Latin lines : 

" Clamm est in ejus gestis, 

Quod singularis mater fuerit filii Regis 

magni (id est, Dei), 
Benedixit avem volatilem, 
Ita ut earn apprebenderit sua manu." 

Vita Prima S. Brigidse, sec. pcxxiii., p. 
517. Also Vita Secunda S. Brigidaa, cap. 
xxii., p. 521. 

63 So are we informed by Cogitosus. 

** See the account in Abbate D. Giacomo 



Certani s "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 
S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 

5 J 3. 5 4- 

05 Sunus, concealing the name of Lugid, 
briefly relates this miracle, in " De Probatis 
Sanctorum Historiis," &c., tomus i., Febru- 
anus. Vita S. Brigidte, Virginis, p. 809. 

60 By Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, he is 
called "vn Sansone Ibernese." 

? See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Secunda S. Brigidae, cap. xxiv. , p. 
521. Vita Tertia S. Brigida!, cap. ex., p. 
540. Vita Quarta S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. 
Ixxv., p. 560. In the First Metrical Life, 
this miracle is thus introduced : 

" Quantas fecerit virtutes, 

Nullus est qui reterre posset plene. 
Praeclarum qualiier minuerii edacitatem 

Lugadii 
Pugilis, et ejus non extinxit vires." 

Vita Prima S. Brigidae, sec. 34, p. 517. 

68 In the Fourth Life of our saint, she is 
called, "Cellaria," and in the Third 
"Coqua." These and similar incidental 
notices, in the legends of our saints, serve 
to give us an idea, regarding various officials 
connected with ancient monasteries and 
nunneries, or relating to their domestic 
economy. 

6y In the Third Life, we read, that Brigid 
said to her, " Give them bread and butter, 
with several dishes of meat and onions," 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



149 



keeper to go into the cellar, and to mark it with a sign of the cross, to close 
it, and on her return to pray, while herself entered the church." About the 
sixth hour,? 1 the abbess called her store-keeper? 2 and said, " The time for 
waiting on our guests has arrived ; go now to the cellar, " and liberally give 
them, whatsoever you may rind there." Opening it, the store-keeper found 
in the cellar all those different kinds of food, mentioned by St. Brigid. And 
these various viands lasted during seven entire days, serving as refreshments, 
not only for the guests, but even for the whole religious community, as also 
for the poor. 74 At that time, no persons living in the nunnery, save only the 
abbess and her store-keeper, knew whence c:;me those provisions, nor who 
had provided them. 75 A knowledge of this miraculous occurrence remained 
among the secrets of Divine Omnipotence.? 6 

It is said, our saint was at a certain place, where there were many rivulets, 
yet unprovided with water-herbs,?? that usually grow in a natural state on 
streams supplied by fountains.? 8 While there, a band of holy virgins, be 
longing to the place, came to visit and to ask her a question. They say to 
her : " Why, O mother, do not the water-herbs,?? on which holy men are 
accustomed to live, grow in those waters ? o The holy abbess, knowing 
that they desired a growth of such herbs there, spent the following night in 
vigil and prayer. 81 On rising the succeeding morning, those religious found 



7J In the Third Life, the account runs a 
little differently, as follows : Brigid said to 
the cook, "sweep the kitchen pavement, 
close the cook-house ; then go to thine own 
house, and pray in it ; I will go to the 
church." This shows, that the inmates of 
St. Brigid s establishment lived in separate 
houses or cells, probably grouped together 
around the church the Usual ancient Irish 
monastic arrangement. 

71 From the manner, in which this is re 
lated, it would seem, the sixth hour -was 
the time usually set apart for the dinner of 
these guests ; perhaps, too, it was the hour 
for the conventual meal. 

72 So called in the Fourth Life of our 
saint, but designated "the cook" in the 
Third Life. 

73 In the Fourth Life, we read that she 
was directed to this place, but in the Third 
Life, she was ordered to the cook-house or 
kitchen. 

74 From this narrative and in similar ac 
counts, we may well infer, how large and 
bountiful were the distributions of food, 
made to the destitute, in our early monastic 
institutes. 

75 This miracle is recorded in Abbate D. 
Giacomo Certani s " La Santita Prodigiosa. 
Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Quiu- 
to, pp. 417 to 419. 

76 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Quarta S. BrigidiL-, lib. ii., cap. lv., 
p. 558. Vita Tertia S. Brigida , cap. Ixxxii., 
P- 537> ibid- Vita Sexta S. Brigida;, sect. 
xlix., p. 593, ibid. 

77 Most probably, these herbs were of the 
species, known as " water cresses." The 
Fourth Life of our saint adds, that many 
saints who were accustomed to fast with 
extreme rigour in the western parts, usually 



fed on such herbs. And in the Sixth Life, 
it is said, that these holy men, 

" Frigida cum crispis sumebant pocula et 
herbis. " 

78 In the beautiful lines of John Fraser on 
" 1 he Holy Wells," \\e have the following 
appropriate allusions : 

" The cottage hearth, the convent wall, the 

battlemented tower, 
Grew up around the crystal springs, as 

well as flag and flower ; 
The brooklime and the water-cress were 

evidence of health, 
Abiding in those basins, free to poverty 

and wealth." 

Edward Hayes "Ballads of Ireland," 
vol. i., p. 7. 

79 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
T bernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 419 to 421. 
There these herbs are called " Cauoli Ac- 
quatici," in the Italian language. 

80 In reference to the different species of 
herbs, mentioned in the Fourth Life of our 
saint, Colgan endeavours to explain their 
nature in a note. "Per firisia videtur in- 
telligere genus aquatic! oleris, quod Hiber- 
nice dicitur Biorar & Latine anasiurtium 
aquatieum, quo passim Eremita; istius tem- 
poris & Patrice vescebantur : per Sam/>si a, 
quid intelligat, ne^cio, nisi iorte herbarn 
quam Latini vocant sampsychum, &. aliis 
nominibus vocatur amaruciis &. maiorana ; 
vel aliam,. quam Hiberni vocant Samhadh, 
Latini vero, accc osaiu. N. 10, p. 506. 

1 Seethe Bollandists Acta Sanctorum," 
tomus i., Februarii. Vila Quarta S. liri- 
aj, lib. ii., cap. viii., p. 107. 



, 5 o LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the rivulets filled with such herbs, 82 while others grew for a considerable dis 
tance around, and where they had not hitherto been seen. This abundant 
growth of water-cresses 83 was granted by God to St. Brigid s prayers. 8 * The 
fame of our glorious virgin had already extended to very distant places. 
Certain men, wishing to recommend themselves to her good offices, came 
from afar, and brought with them many presents on horses and in waggons. 83 
But, on that day, when they expected to have arrived, those travellers entered 
thick woods, where night fell upon them. So dark were its shades, that their 
waggons could not be driven through the forest, and they went astray in an 
unknown place. However, the holy Brigid had some prophetic intuition 
regarding their distress. Praying to God for them, she told her nuns to 
kindle a fire, and to warm some water, that the feet of guests she expected 
this night might be washed. Her nuns wondered at her saying, that men 
were journeying through the darkness on this particular night. Meanwhile, 
a great light appeared to the travellers. Its glow illuminated their path, until 
they arrived at St. Brigid s monastery. 86 The holy virgin went out to meet 
them, when all gave thanks to God. Having accomplished the object of 
their visit, and after staying three days, the travellers resumed their return 
journey, by that same road they had previously traversed. Such was the 
roughness or intricacy of their passage, that they had much difficulty, even 
in the day-time, to draw their empty waggons along. 8 ? Yet, on account of 
St. Brigid s prayers, Christ himself caused the rough places to become 
smooth, on the night of their journey, while miraculous light guided them 
on the way. 88 This incident reads very much like that previously related 
regarding Bishop Broon and his companions. 

Previous to the residence of a bishop at Kildare, a priest, named Nat- 
froich, 8 ^ was charged with the performance of clerical duties for the religious 
inmates of the nunnery. He became St. Brigid s frequent and confidential 
companion. He was accustomed to read passages from some religious book, 
whenever the community assembled at their meals. From such circum 
stances, which are recorded in different lives of our saint, it is quite probable, 
that this priest was spiritual director of the abbess and of her nuns ; and, we 
are told, that he remained with the holy woman, during his whole lifetime. 
Natfroich, after his ordination, became chaplain to St. Brigid and to her nuns, 



82 The Fourth Life has it, that the rivulets miracle is also mentioned in the Vita 
were "supra moclum illis oleribus plcnos, Sexta S. Brigidffl, section 1., p. 593> ibid, 
i.e., Brisia et cateris oleribus abundantes." In this latter, it is said, she cured many 

83 The water-cress, which grows in our lepers and sick, as also blind and lame 
brooks and rivulets, is a well-known aquatic persons. 

plant, and it forms an excellent and a whole- 85 See the Bollandists " Acta Sanctorum," 

some salad. Its flowers are white, and they tomus i., Februarii. Vita Quarta S. Bri- 

appear in July. See James Townsend gidne, lib. ii., cap. viii., p. 168. 

Mackay s " Flora Hibernica, comprising B6 The Third Life says, that it appeared 

the flowering Plants Ferns Characeoe Musci only to the chief man, among these travellers. 

Hepaticne Lichenses and Algaj of Ireland In "her Sixth Life, he is called " prEesul 

arranged according to the natural system, venerabilis," or a " venerable bishop." 

with a synopsis of the Genera, according to 8 ? See this narrative also set forth in 

the Linnrean System." Vasculares. Class Abbate D. Ghcomo Certani s " La Santita 

I. Sub-class I. Order 6, pp. 17, 18. Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." 

Dublin, 1836, 8vo. Libro Quinto, pp. 421 10424. 

84 The writer of the Vita Quarta S. Brigi- 8S See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
dns, lib. ii., cap. Ivi., p. 558, adds, that Quarta Vita S. Brigida?, lib. ii., cap. Ivii., 
there herbs of the same species did not fail pp. 158, 159. Vita Tevtia S. Brigidoe, cap. 
to grow in his time through the blessing of Ixxxiv., pp. 537, 538, ibid. 

God _ and of St. Brigid. See also, Vita 8 9 See an account of this saint at the I ith 

Tertia ^S. Brigidoe, cap. Ixxxiii., p. 537. of December, the date set down for his 

Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." This feast. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 151 



for whom he often read the Holy Scriptures and other pious books. By 
appointment of St. Patrick, he attended on her during her travels, while he 
frequently acted in the capacity of charioteer. Being thus engaged, the 
following recorded incident took place. 50 On a certain day, when the pre 
sence of our saint was necessary, at a great congregation, she proceeded to 
the spot in a chariot, drawn by two horses. c -> 1 We are told, in St. Brigid s 
Third Life, that the abbess most probably on this occasion was proceeding 
to the plain of the Liffy, and that another holy virgin sat with her, in the 
chariot. The charioteer, who was with them, had been desired to instruct 
his travelling companions. s 2 The better to make himself heard, he turned 
his head over his shoulder. Then said the abbess, "Turn round that we 
may hear better, and throw down the reins." So her chaplain cast the reins 
over the front of the chariot, and addressed his discourse to them, with his 
back to the horses. One of these slipped its neck from the yoke, and ran 
free ; yet, so engrossed were Bridget and her companion, in the sermon of 
the priestly charioteer, they did not observe that the horse was loose, and that 
the carriage was running all on one side. ^ This happened at the edge of a 
very dangerous precipice. The King of Leinster is said to have witnessed 
the whole occurrence, 94 from a high hill. 55 Although at a distance, he knew 
St. Brigid s chariot. 1 ^ Finally, breaking his traces, the animal ran through 
the adjoining fields, in an affrighted manner. By a manifest interposition of 
Divine Providence, however, the saint escaped danger, and she continued her 
journey with one horse ; another account informs us, the other horse got once 
more into the traces. w The saint safely reached the place for assembly. 
Here, Brigid exhorted the people, by pious admonitions ; while the rumour 
of her danger and subsequent escape having reached them, the minds of all 
present were filled with admiration and rejoicing.9 8 

Her prescience and spirit of prophecy were among the most remarkable 
gifts of the abbess. On a certain day, when the glorious Brigid went from 
her monastery, in the Liffy plains, towards a place some little distance re 
moved from it, in a easterly direction, a young student, who was the son of 
Ethach,99 and from a country called Mulus, 100 met her on the way. When 
he saw our saint, this student began to race, with all the giddiness and 
vivacity of a school-boy. St. Brigid told one of her nuns to call him towards 
her, but scarcely could this youth, named Ninnid, be induced to approach 



5 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La that St. Conlaid had first paid her a visit. 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Then follows an account, concerning the 

Ibernese." Libro Quarto, pp. 287 to 250. saint s journey in her chariot, accompanied 

91 See Colon s " Trias Thaumaturga." by some of her companions. It is added, 
Vita Secunda S. Brigida?, cap. xviii., p. that the miracle occurred on the return of 
520. Also " Vita 1 riina S. Brigida?," sec. St. Brigid to her establishment, after having 
28, p. 516, ibid. visited the house of a certain holy virgin. 

92 See "Vita Tertia S. Brigidae," cap. See "Vita Sexta S. Brigidse," sees, xliii., 
Hi., p. 532, ibid. xliv., pp. 591, 592. "Trias Thaumaturga." 

93 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s " Lives of ^ The Abbate D. Giacomo Certani 
the Saints," vol. ii., I February, p. 18. writes : " Ilebbe costui per Padre Eocadio, 

94 See " Quarta Vita S. Brigidtv," lib. ii., o vero Eutichio, come alcuni scriuono, che 
cap. xxi., pp. 552, 553. Colgan s " Trias fii Figliuolo d Aido vno de Figliuoli di Lio- 
Thaumaturga." gario." " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 

95 Probably from one of those eminences, S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 489. 
now known as "the Red Hills of Kiklare." Ico Colgan ob>crves in a note, that there 

96 See the Bollandists " Acta Sancto- is an island in Albanian Scotia, which is 
rum," tomus i., Februarii. Vita Quarta S. called Mule or Mula. Xinnidius spent some 
Brigidce, lib. ii., cap. iii., p. 162. time in Britain. Perhaps, he dwelt there as 

w According to the Third Life. a permanent resident, and may be properly 

98 In the Sixth Metrical Life, it is said, designated as " de partibus Muli." 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the abbess. When he did, however, she asked him, whither lie was running, 
in such haste. He immediately replied : " It is my duty to enter the king 
dom of heaven, and towards that I ran." The abbess said : " Would that" I 
were worthy to run with you this day towards God s kingdom, but pray for 
me, brother, that I may enter that realm of bliss." I01 The scholar returned : 
" O saint, do you in like manner entreat the Almighty, that my course towards 
the heavenly kingdom be a constant one. In requital, I Avill pray for you, 
with many other persons, that you may attain immortal happiness." Then, 
St._ Brigid prayed lor him. Ninnid became filled with the grace of the Holy 
Spirit, and he performed penance. This youth was a son to Fthach, and he 
was from the country, called Mulus. He then began and continued to be 
a religious person to the very date of his death. 102 ^He is ranked, also, among 
the most distinguished of our Irish saints. J 3 

To this young student, St. Brigid then said : " On the day of my death, 
I shall receive Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
from thy hand." St. Ninnidius replied : " Would that thou couldst live 
until thou receives! Holy Eucharist from me." These words he spoke, 
because he wished at this time to become a pilgrim. For a long time, he 
desired to be absent, so that he might not soon again see the saint, and that 
she might live to an extreme old age. Probably, on some subsequent oc 
casion, mutually bestowing a blessing on each other, and commending them 
selves respectively to God, with words of religious wisdom, they separated, 
each of them taking a different destination. From the day Brigid spoke to 
him, Nennid wished to preserve from defilement that hand, which she had 
predicted should minister to her the august Viaticum on the day of her 
death. Hence, we are told, he put on it a close-fitting brass gauntlet, 
secured with a lock and key, so that his hand should not be able to touch 
his body, nor be touched by any unclean thing. Thence, his cognomen was 
derived ; for, in the Scotic dialect he was called, Ninnidh lamlan* which 
in English is interpreted, " Ninnidius of the clean hand." Afterwards, the 
great Father of our Irish Church caused him to be ordained, although he 
was humbly reluctant to assume the sacredotal oftice, I0 5 lest he might be 
called a great priest, according to the inspired writings. 105 This Ninnidius 
sailed over to the country of the Britons, wishing to become an exile from 
Ireland, for a long period, as he knew St. Brigid s prediction must be ful- 
When Ninnidius entered the ship, he is said to have cast the- key 

1 See the whole of this account in the aril. Vita S. Nennidhii, n. 17, p. 115. 
Holland ists Acta Sanctorum," tomus i., I03 The meaning must be, that this humble 

lebruaru. Vita Quarta S. Brigida, cap. diffidence, regarding the responsibilities at- 

1X io-> c r > tached to his sacred calling, caused Nenni- 

^ e( Trias Thaumaturga." dius to hesitate at first, until the persuasions 

Vita ^uarta b. B rigid ae, lib. ii., cap. Ixi., of pious persons and his own sense of a 

p. 559. Also, \ ita Tertia S. Brigidse, cap. Divine call induced him no longer to resist 

Ixxvm., p. 537, ibid. heaven s designs in his vocation. 

In a note to this latter Life, Colgan Io6 Allusion is probably made to Ecclesi- 

ickls, he was the same St. Nennius or Nen- asticus, xliv., 15. 

nidius, whose Acts he published at the iSth 7 The Abbate D. Giacomo Certani 

ot January in Acta Sanctorum Hibernian," with much circumlocution, has an account 

xvin. Januani. See Vita S. Nennidhii, seu of the foregoing and many extraneous cir- 

Nennii, pp. nitons. cumstances, in " La Santita Prodigiosa. 

Colgan refers us to notes, which were Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libra Sesto 

appended to St. Nennidius Acts, at the pp. 488 to 502! 

ISth of January, for certain observations on s This narrative ends with an account 

The Latin form of his that the miracles and incidents of Ninnid s 

" a " le t Mennidius manus mnndce. See closing years were to be found in an old Life 

Acta banctorum Hibernije," xviii. Janu- of him which had been written, bee Vita 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 153 



of his manacled hand into the deep, that it might not be recovered again for 
any accomplishment of its purpose IoS But, as the Scripture declares, no 
wisdom or prudence or counsel can oppose the Almighty s designs. And 
so the event is said to have accorded with St. Brigid s prediction. 10 * How 
ever, it must be observed, that some of the foregoing circumstances are 
manifestly the concoction of legend-mongers, and are inconsistent with a 
supposition, that Ninnidh could have efficiently discharged the duties of his 
priesthood under the conditions, which have been related. 

As the Abbess Brigid s establishment increased in importance, the city 
of Kildare grew, likewise, in a corresponding ratio. Revolving in mind a. 
necessity that appeared to exist, for the residence of a bishop there, to obtain 
the object of her desires, our saint made application to some of the Irish 
prelates. Her petitions appear to have been favourably received, for, she 
had the nomination of Kildare s first bishop ; 110 a privilege, which the other 
prelates might have allowed, on account of her exalted merits, and those 
services which she had rendered to religion in that portion of the province, 
where she presided in her capacity of abbess. 111 It is stated, also, that the 
bishop appointed, in conjunction with herself, exercised jurisdiction over all 
houses of her order, throughout Ireland. Some difficulties exist, in sup 
posing the Bishop of Kildare to exercise jurisdiction over nuns, living outside 
his immediate bishopric ; for, although named Archbishop of the Irish 
Bishops, 112 yet, it is also well known, that the Irish Primacy had never been 
transferred from Armagh to Kildare. With her usual discrimination, the 
person, selected by Brigid to assume the episcopacy, was a holy man, named 
Conleath."3 H e lived the life of a cellule recluse, in the southern part of 
the Liffcy plain. At what particular period this consecration of Conleath 
took place, we have no means lor determining ;"4 yet. we must suppose, some 
years had elapsed, from the establishment of the community at Kildare, 
before its erection into a see, and the consequent appointment of a bishop. 11 * 

That St. Brigid exercised a certain degree of jurisdiction over the Bishop 
of Kildare who was her contemporary," 6 and that the abbesses, who were 
her successors, retained such jurisdiction over the abbots and bishops of the 
see, have been supposed. This state of affairs, however, is so repugnant to 
the spirit of church discipline, in all ages, and even unsupported by any re 
liable authorities, on the subject, that we can have no hesitation in rejecting 
such supposition. We rather prefer coinciding with an explanation offered, 11 ? 



Quarta S. Brigidiv, lib. ii., cap. Ixii., Ixiii., " See Rev. M. ]. Brenan s " Ecclesias- 

PP- 559i 5 6 - Colgan s "Trias Thauma- tical History of Ireland," chap, iii., p. 51. 

turga." Also n. 18, p. 566, ilnd. " 2 " Archiepiscopus Hiberniensium Epis- 

^ In the Fifth Life of St., Brigid, an ac- copurum." Colgan s "Trias Thauma- 
count given, regarding the foregoing inci- turga." Secunda Vita S. Brigidai. Pro- 
dents, is somewhat different, and interpo- logus, p. 518. 

lated, it would appear, with observations "3 See his Life at the 3rd of May. 

and interpretations, not found in more an- "* In the "Life of St. Brigid," by an 

cient authorities. It is there said, that Ninnid Irish Priest, it is stated, this event took 

exiled himself, at the request of St. Brigid; place, about the year 490, and probably in 

that he went to Rome to visit the shrines the Church of Kildare. See chap, vi., p. 

of the holy Apostles ; and, that he spent 74. 

four years as a pilgrim, when he was warned "3 See the Italian " Breviarium Gienen- 

by an angel of God to return into Ireland. sis," Icct. ii., where it is said, Bishop Con- 

This order he is said to have obeyed, finding leath was appointed by her to consecrate 

St. Bngid, at the point of death, on his ar- churches, he having been taken from the 

rival. Soon after, giving her Communion, desert. 

the holy priest himself was gathered to his IIU This is an opinion, entertained by Col- 
fathers. See Quinta Vita S. Brigidee, cap. gan. 
Ivii., Iviii., pp. 581, 582, ibid. "? By Dr. Lanigan. 

:1 As Cogitosus remarks. Il3 By Cogitosus. 



LII E OF ST. BRIGID. 



to account for this presumed anomaly. It has been conjectured and with 
every appearance of credibility that, as the church of Kildare had been 
built from funds supplied by the monastery, and as its community, besides 
holding possession of a proprietory right and title, appears to have been at 
the expense of providing requisites for religious worship ; it is only reason 
able to imagine, that the church, which was used as a cathedral, had been 
under joint management both of the bishop and of the abbess. And this 
supposition is furthermore confirmed, by what is related in St. Brigid s Life" 8 
where we read, that she bestowed some very costly vestments 1 ^ which were 
used by Conleath on the festivals of our Lord, and on those of the Apostles, 
while engaged offering up the Divine Mysteries. 120 It is almost certain, 
however, that our saint, on account of her singular prerogatives and virtues, 
exercised a special jurisdiction, and enjoyed an extraordinary pre-eminence, 
over all the religious women of her day in Ireland. 121 Not only Cogitosus, 
but several other writers, will be found, applying epithets to St. Brigid, which 
indicate her exalted station and superiority, 122 at least in some correlative 
sense. Thus, as the representative of Irish female religious, St. Brigid ranks 
foremost ; I2 3 as St. Columkille represents the highest order of male mona- 
chism, and as St. Patrick crowns the hierarchy ; so these sacred three are 
united in popular veneration and in a supreme degree. 



CHAPTER XI. 

ST. BRIGID S BENIGNITY AND PRUDENCE REWARDS MIRACULOUSLY BESTOWED ON THE 
POOR AND ON HER ENTERTAINERS ST. HINNA MIRACULOUS OCCURRENCES ST. 
DARIA S SIGHT PARTIALLY RESTORED FAITH IN ST. BRIGID S INTERCESSION 
JUSTIFIED. 

THE benignant Brigid regarded her religious daughters and her pupils with 
true affection ; the servants and labourers, about her establishment, she in 
dulged as members of her own family. 1 Seldom when correcting faults did 
she use terms of reproach ; but, always considering the most practical means 
for removing evil to be the healing of a sinner s soul, her action was deemed 
more important than even her charitable direction or advice. She knew 



119 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La I22 See ibid., Cogitosus or Secunda Vita 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida S. Brigida?. In Prologo, and in cap. xxxvi., 
Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 539. pp. 518, 524. The Bishop of Ossory, in his 

120 " Nam vestimenta transmarina et pere- "Dissertation on St. Brigid," has similar 
grina Episcopi Conleath decorati luminis, remarks, in the commencement of his trea- 
quibus, solemnitatibus Domini, et vigiliis tise, p. I. See Appendix Secunda ad Acta 
Apostolorum sacra in altaribus offerens my- S. Brigida?, sec. xxxix., p. 608, ibid. 
steria utebatur, pauperibus largita est."- I23 According to David Roth. 
Cogitosus or Secunda Vita S. Brigida?, cap. CHAPTER xi. Such is the account as 
xxix., p. 522. Colgan s " Trias Thauma- furnished by the metrical panegyrist, iu these 
turga." lines : 

121 In the " Breviarium Gienensis," it is 

said, from all the provinces of Ireland, that " Qualis erat pueris, famulis, hasc ipsa 

a great multitude flocked to her monastery, puellis 

"quod est caput pene Hiberniensium Eccle- Talis amore pio cunctis pukherrima virgo 

siarum, id est, Scotorum." Again: " Et Pauperibus fuerat et miseris, larga pu- 

ipsa puellarum mater extitit, ut amborum pillis." 

mentis Hiberniensis insula Christo devotis- 

sime serviret," lect. i., iii. See ibid. Ap- Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Sexta 

pendix Prima ad Acta S. Brigidce, p. 601. Vita S. Brigida?, sec. v,, p. 583. 



LIFE OF ST. RIGID. 155 



how to compassionate the weakness of others. 2 She sought to repair im 
prudence and crime, without causing scandal or exposing the delinquent, 
An instance of such thoughtful interposition occurs, in the case of a certain 
young person, bound by a religious vow.3 The result was a reward for that 
merciful interference ; as the person became penitent.* And, because all 
things are rendered possible, on the ground of unwavering faith, 5 so was the 
life of St. Brigid daily illustrated by miracles. Thus, as various poor and 
infirm creatures visited her, to have their several wants supplied, it happened 
on one occasion, that she afforded relief to a person, who required the useful 
condiment of salt, which was procured in a supernatural manner. 6 

The following two miraculous incidents, attributed to our saint, are thus 
related. 7 While her mind was elevated to the contemplation of heavenly 
subjects, as was her frequent habit, the things of earth were altogether for 
gotten. Such being the case, on a certain occasion, and most probably while 
engaged about some culinary affairs, a dog removed a large piece of bacon. 
When sought, this was not to be found, in its usual storing place ; but, after 
a month had expired, it was discovered, whole and untouched, in the kennel. 
That dog durst not eat this food, belonging to Brigid, and his natural 
appetite, for so long a period, seemed restrained by some wonderful and 
inexplicable intervention. 8 In season and out of season, St. Brigid s bounty 
had been taxed by the importunities of poor persons, and her charities 
seemed exhaustless, while the fame of her miracles still caused many destitute 
persons to approach her every day. Among these, a poor person, in need 
of alms, had been sent by the saint to her servants, who were engaged in 
cooking flesh-meat. Our saint directed that immediate relief should be 
given to the applicant. While herself was present, one of holy Brigid s 
servants, engaged in cooking, thoughtlessly threw? a piece of undressed flesh- 
meat, into the folds of her garments. 10 This the abbess brought to that poor 
person, as an alms, while her white robe, 11 was found to preserve its purity, 
without a single speck or stain. 12 

2 See "The Life of St. Brigid," by an Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- 
Irish Priest, chap, ix., p. H2. nese." Libro Sesto, pp. 514 to 516. 

3 Cases somewhat similar are recorded in 9 Some of our Saint s Lives merely say, 
a Life of St. Ailbe, at the I2th of Sep- that the cook threw it into the bosom of the 
tember, and in a Life of St. Kieran of Saigir, charitable abbess; but, this act of dis- 
at the 5th of March. See Colgan s "Trias courtesy towards her, on the part of a 
Thaumaturga." Vita Secunda S. Brigida?, servant, can hardly be credible. The Latin 
n. 12, p. 526, and Tertia Vita S. Brigidae, word used, however, may admit of another 
n. 60, p. 545, ibid. meaning; for "in sinu," may signify "in 

4 See this account, treated at more length, a fold." The Irish line, in the First Life of 
in Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La San- St. Brigid has it : 

tita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida Iber- t>nocA<b ro cneAr 1 * hucc." 

nese." Libro Sesto, pp. 507 to 512. 

5 See Hebrews, xi. In English : "boiled meat, which was cast 

6 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " into her bosom." 

Vita Prima S. Brigidce, sec. 20, p. 516. I0 Where Cogitosus says, this man threw 

Vita Secunda S. Brigidce, cap. x., xi., pp. the piece of meat "in albatum ipsius sinu- 

519, 520. Tertia Vita S. Brigida?, cap. cv., atce vestis receptaculum," allusion seems 

cvi., p. 540. This miracle is given, with made to her religious habit. This garment 

additional particulars, in the Fifth Life. would appear to have fallen about the per- 

Vita Quinta S. Brigidre, cap. xliv., p. 578. sons of herself and of her nuns, in graceful 

In the Sixth Life, a miracle is recorded of a folds. 

somewhat analogous character. However, " From the words of Cogitosus, allusion 

this account does not appear applicable to is seemingly made to the white dress of St. 

the narrative, alluded to in the text. See Brigid s order. 

Vita Sexta S. Brigidre, sec. xxiv., p. 586. " See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

7 See Cogitosus, or Secunda Vita S. Bri- Vita Secunda S. Brigidre, cap. xv., p. 520. 
gidffi, cap. xiv., p. 520, ibid. Vita Prima S. Brigida;, sec. xxiii., xxiv, p. 

8 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 516. Vita Tertia S. Brigida?, cap. cvii., 



156 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID, 

In those primitive times, and when hospices were not numerous in 
country parts, while St. Brigid and her nuns were engaged on missionary 
visitations, they were frequently obliged to accept the hospitalities of very 
humble people. 3 It was on an occasion of this sort, while lodging with a 
private family, a man, named Icessus, or Eccus, a poet, with his wife, 1 * 
happened to sleep in the same house. The blessed abbess, at their request, 
gave them her benediction. Afterwards, a renowned son, St. Echenus or 
Etchen 13 was born to the religious parents. 16 During this visit, likewise, 
Brigid was instrumental in having a stolen silver lunette, 17 restored to her 
hostess, and in a miraculous manner. 18 This had been taken by a fugitive 
servant-maid. 9 An injustice of a still more objectionable character, sought 
to be practised on an innocent woman, 20 caused the latter to fly for refuge 
towards St. Brigid s sanctuary. There she received a welcome, and the 
property she lost was procured by a miracle. 21 

The following miracle was wrought by St. Brigid, while lodging at the 
house of a certain poor and pious woman. 22 The abbess had been engaged 
on one of her religious missions. When evening overtook her travelling 
over the extensive plain of Breg, 23 she entered the house of this poor woman, 
to claim hospitality for that night. According to St. Brogan s Life of the 
saint, this happened in the plain of Caoil. 24 Holding out her hands in token 
of welcome, the hostess joyfully and respectfully received Christ s holy 
servant, with her nuns. She also gave thanks to God, for their happy arrival. 
Having only one calf, it was immediately killed for the refreshment of those 
guests; but, having no wood to prepare a meal, the poor woman broke a 
frame or distaff, 25 which had been used for weaving stuffs. With its material, 
she kindled a fire, and proceeded to cook some meat, showing a right good 
will. After supper was over, passing the night in her accustomed vigils, holy 

cviii., p. 540. Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. Ixxvi., pp. 560, 

ii., cap. Ixxvii , Ixxviii., p. 561. 561, and n. 20, p. 566. 

13 " En ce temps-la, les saints et les saintes I9 She had also lived with the family. 
s en allaient par toute 1 Irlande, e vange lisant 20 A young man had given into her charge 
et prechant, ede fiant les fideles par leur vertus a valuable silver vessel, which he afterwards 
et par leur miracles." L. Tachet de Bar- took away without her knowledge, thus hop- 
neval s " Histoire Legendaire de 1 Irlande," ing to make her his slave, when she failed 
chap, viii., p. 78. to restore it. See Abbate D. Giacomo 

14 Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, who has Certani s " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di 
a detailed account of this incident, calls him S. Brigicla Ibernese." Libra Sesto, pp. 
a prince of Leinster " per nome Mario Eccea 524 to 529. 

con la Principessa sua Moglie chiamata 2I See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

Briga." "La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di Prima Vita S. Brigida;, sec. xxxvi., p. 517. 

S. Brigida Ibernese." Libra Sesto, p. 517. Secunda Vita S. Brigidte, cap. xxvi., p. 

15 His feast occurs on the nth of Febru- 522. 

ary. 22 This is related by Cogitosus. 

16 See his Life in Colgan s " Acta Sane- 2 3 Breg was the name of the plain, extend - 
torum Hibernias," xi. Februarii. Vita S. ing between Dublin and I ontana Civitas. 
Etchajnii, pp. 304 to 306. Joceline writes " in campo Breagh, specioso 

J ? Abbate D. Giacomo Certani describes ac spatioso." Vita Sexta S. Patricii, cap. 

t as " vn certo suo adornamento fabricate xxxix., p. 73. See also, Vita Secunda S. 

d argento lauorato da industriosa mano, die Brigidae, n. 13, p. 526. Colgan s "Trias 

1 haueua condotto in forma d vna Luna non Thaumaturga." I ontana Civitas is now 

plena incastonandoui deutro ricchissime known as Drogheda. See, Mr. D Alton s 

Gemme." La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita " History of Drogheda," vol. i., p. I. 

di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 24 See also the Bollandists " Acta Sanc- 

522. A great number of those laminated torum," tomus i., Februarii. Vita iv. S. 

lunettes but (.hiefly in gold are yet to be Brigidne, lib. ii., cap. x , p. 170. 

seen in the Royal Irish Academy s Museum. -= ^ his incident serves to reveal one of 

18 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." the ordinary occupations of ail Irish house- 

Tertia Vita S. Brigiclre, cap. cxi., cxii., p. wile, in early times. 

540, and nu. 61, 62, p. 545. Quarta Vita 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 157 

Brigid arose early on the following morning. To reward the cheerful and 
hospitable spirit of her entertainer, our saint caused another calf, like the one 
that had been killed, to appear in similar shape. The cow is stated to have 
received th.s young animal, as if it had been her own offspring. And, to the 
hostess she presented an equally valuable weaving-frame, in every respect, 
like that one, which had been destroyed, for, she would not allow this 
hospitable woman to undergo any loss, in consequence ot her charity. Then, 
bidding tare well to her hostess and family, our sa.nt happily and religiously 
proceeded on her journey." 6 

Truly wonderiul are many of the legends, which have been recorded by 
her biographers. Those, which serve to display her extraordinary charities, 
are not the least numerous and strange. Urigid would have bestowed a large 
quantity ot silver on a religious, named Hymna or Minna, 2 ? but this latter 
refused to accept it. Hereupon, the pious abbess threw her offering into a 
river, 28 through which it floated, to the cell of St. Hinna. 2 * This miraculous 
occurrence^ caused St. llmna to accept the gift.3 A man had been con 
demned to death, by a certain king s orders. Our saint interfered, in his 
behalf, and entreated that his life might be spared.3* At this moment, a 
quantity of solid silver fell upon the bosom of Christ s compassionate servant. 
This miraculous gift she at once gave the king, ; 3 as a ransom for the unhappy 
captive. The condemned man was liberated from death, in consequence of 
such merciful interference, on the part of our saint. On another occasion, 
St. Brigid divided her only cloak, between two poor persons, so that each 
one of them received halt of it. But fully to reward the wishes of the pious 
donor, it pleased God to cause each ot those poor persons to possess an 
entire cloak.^ Other equally extraordinary incidents are related, throughout 
our saint s Acts ; but, writers who record such incidents declare, that more 
particular accounts are avoided to abbreviate their respective biographies. 33 
A more poweriul ruler had driven a prince, who was a particular Iriend of St. 
Brigid, Iroiii his principality. Our saint undertook to intercede with the 



96 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 3= This narrative occurs in Abbate D. 

Vita Secunda S. Brigida:, cap. xxvii., p. Giacomo Certain s " La Santita Prodigiosa. 

522. Vita Tertia S. BrigidiB, cap. cxiii., Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese. " Libro Sesto, 

p. 540. Vita Quarta S. Brigida, lib. ii., pp. 54710549. 

cap. ixxix., p. 501. VitaQiunu S. Bngidsc, 33 Most likely, he was the king of Northern 

cap. lv., p. 561. Leinster, who, usually in St. Brigid s time, 

3 ? In the Third Life of St. Brigid, this resided in the Dun, at Naas. In an Irish 

pious virgin is called Hinna, and in the Poem of Rev. Geoffrey Keating, translated 

.Fourth Lite, Hymna. into English verse, by J. C. Mangan, we 

* Ihis is said to have been the Liffey in find these lines : 
Abbate D. Giacomo Certain s "La Santita 

Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Br.gida Ibernese." "The chieftains of Naas were valourous 

Libro Sesto, p. 546. lords, but their valour was crushed by 

_ * 9 Colgan says, " sed Kinna seu Kinnia Craft 

videtur rectius legendum." He also re- They fell beneath Envy s butcherly dagger, 

marks, that he is unable to find any Irish and Calumny s poisoned shaft." 
saint called Hymna or Hinna. But a St. 

Kinna or Kiiinia is venerated at the 1st of "The Sorrows of Innisfail." John Mit- 

February, according to the Irish Martyro- chel s edition of " Poems, by James Clarence 

legists. Colgan gives her acts, at the same Mangan." New York, 1859. 8vo. 

day. See " Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae," 34 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 

l. Februarii. Vita S. Cinniue, pp. 234, 235. Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 

30 It is said to have a Providential gui- Iberne-e." Libro Sesto, pp. 540, 541. 

" ance - 35 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

3 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Quarta S. Brigidce, lib. ii., cap. Ixxxiii., 

Vita Quarta S. Brigidas, lib. ii., cap. Ixxxi., Ixxxiv., Ixxxv., p. 561. Vita Tertia S. Bri- 

Ixxxu., and n. 21, pp. 561, 566. Vita gidae, cap. cxvii., cxviii., cxix., p. 541, ibid* 
lertia S. Brigidae, cap. cxvi., p. 541, 



158 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



king, on behalf of the fugitive, so that this latter might be allowed to retain 
his possessions ; yet, the potentate would not hear her, but rejected her 
request. By a judgment from above, on this very same day, the king fell 
out of his chariot, and died from the effects of his fall. 36 At a time, when a 
great multitude of persons came to visit her, and being unprovided with a 
sufficiency of victuals for their refection, St. Brigid miraculously supplied 
them with food. 37 

The holy abbess had promised, at the hour of his death, to visit a certain 
magus, who had offered his possessions to God. 38 Her promise was re 
deemed ; for, when the magus lay on his bed, expecting the approach of 
death, he said to his family : " Get ready all things that are necessary on 
this instant, because I see St. Brigid, clothed in white, with many others, on 
their way to meet me." After such words, he received Christian baptism, 
and being thus admitted within the true fold, he happily departed from life. 
Nor could this person have been that magus, who fostered our saint, in her 
young days ; since he appears to have been baptized, before his possessions 
were given to Brigid. Still the matter, as related, may admit of a doubt 
regarding his identity with the present magus. 3 9 

No matter how far we may dissent from the details of various legendary 
narratives, we must admit the spell of a charming treatment and a sublime 
moral lesson in the following story, related almost in the words of an accom 
plished writer, alluding to St. Brigid/ One evening, she sat with Sister 
Dara, or Dana,* 1 a holy nun, who was blind, 42 as the sun went down j and 
they talked of the love of Jesus Christ, and the joys of Paradise. 43 Now, 
their hearts were so full, the night fled away whilst they spoke together, and 
neither knew that so many hours had sped. Then the sun came up from the 
Wicklow mountains, and the pure white light made the face of earth bright 
and gay. Bridget sighed, when she saw how lovely were earth and sky, and 
while she knew that Dara s eyes were closed to all this beauty. So she 
bowed her head and prayed. She extended her hand and signed the dark 
orbs of the gentle sister. Then the darkness passed away from them, and 
saw the golden ball in the east, while all the trees and flowers 



36 See this narrative in Abbate D, Giacomd rum Ecclesiarum," pp. 626 et seq. " There 
Certani s " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di was an Irish virgin ol that name and a com- 
S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 549 panion oi St. Brtgid at Kiklare, who is men- 
to 553. tioned in that same Founh Life, L. 2, C. 

37 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 89. But the author derives the name Kil- 
Quarta Vita S. Brigidte, lib. ii., cap. Ixxxvi., dare, not from her, but from the oak. And 
Ixxxvii., p. 561. Vita Tertia S. Brigidie, in the Third Life (cap. 47) it is called Cella 
eap. cxxi., cxxii., p. 541. robons." Dr. Lamgan s "Ecclesiastical 

38 The following narrative is given at more History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. 
length in Abbate D. Giacomo (Jertani s " La x., n. 119, p. 408. 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 42 It is said she was so from her birth. 

Ibernese." Libro Sesto, pp. 553 to 557. 43 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La 

39 See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. xv., p. 528, Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 537. 

cap. cxxiii., p. 541, n. 66, p. 545. Vita 44 There are three saints called Daria, 

Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. Ixxxviii., Dara or Daire, in the " Martyrology of 

p. 561. Donegal ;" one a St. Daire, a virgin, vene- 

40 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s " Lives of rated at the 8th of August ; another St. 
the Saints," vol. ii., February i., p. 20. Daire, a widow, whose least occurs at the 

41 Dempster has the extraordinary state- 28th of September ; and a third St. Daire 
ment, that Kiklare was so called from the Bochanna, a widow, reverenced at the 2nd 
relics of a Scotch woman, Daria, mother of November. See Drs. Todd s and Reeves 
of St. Ursula, and which had been brought to edition. Table of the Martyrology, pp> 
Ireland. Usshei" has thoroughly refuted this 398, 399. Yet, the present holy Dara may 
Statement, See " De Primordiis Britannica- be distinct from any of the foregoing saints, 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 159 

glittered with dew in the morning light. She looked a little while, and then, 
turning to the abbess, said : " Close my eyes again, dear mother, for when 
the world is so visible to the eyes, God is seen less clearly to the soul." So 
Bridget prayed once more, and Dara s eyes grew dark again. 45 

Among many wonderful miracles, wrought through St. Brigid, it has been 
observed, 46 there was one very remarkable and great.47 This also was 
generally known. A very large and lofty tree had L een cut down, in the 
woods, with an axe, and it had been destined for a certain purpose by arti 
ficers. It seems probable, the timber had been required for some building 
purposes, in connexion with the holy abbess s religious establishment ; since, 
thither it was brought, according to one account. 4 s A number of strong 
men and oxen, with suitable machines, were assembled to draw it towards 
the destined place ; for, on being felled, it had settled in a position, from 
which it could not be detached, without the utmost difficulty, owing to its 
weight and peculiar shape. But, neither the men, oxen nor various machines, 
by any exertion or application, could draw this tree from the spot, where it 
rested. Trusting to the efficacy of firm faith, whereby mountains are moved, 4 ? 
and all things become possible to those believing, according to Christ s words 
in the Gospel, 50 those present desisted from their efforts, and then invoked the 
protection and assistance of St. Brigid. Afterwards, those labourers moved 
the tree towards that place intended, without the least difficulty, and without 
human aid. Such a wonderful miracle was soon divulged, throughout all the 
provinces of Ireland. 31 So, she made man honourable in his labours, and 
accomplished his labours. 52 By the splendid miracles she wrought, and by 
the consummate sanctity of her life, she brought countless souls to the 
following of Christ. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE DISCIPLES OF ST. BRIGID HER HOLY CONTEMPORARIES SHE OBTAINS PARDON 
FOR A MAN UNJUSTLY CONDEMNED TO DEATH THE DROVERS AND SWINE ESCAPE 
FROM WOLVES- ST. BRIGID PROTECTS A YOUNG LADY, WHO WISHED TO BE A 
NUN SHE RELIEVES THE ROAD-MAKERSOTHER REMARKABLE OCCURRENCES. 

AMONG the disciples, and honoured friends, specially patronized by the 
illustrious Abbess of Kildare, may be enumerated her immediate successor 
over the convent she had there founded, St. Darlugdacha. She survived 
holy Brigid only for a short term. St. Lasrea or Laisre, who was Abbess of 
Killaisre, St. Hynna or Kinnia, Virgin, St. Daria, Virgin, St. Blathnata or 
Blatha, Latinized, Flora, cook to St. Brigid, St. Conlaidh, Bishop of Kildare, 
St. Nennidius or Nennius, Bishop, St. Natfraicus or Nathfraich, her charioteer 
and chaplain, are all numbered among those, towards whom she had acted 
in the capacity of a Protectress. 1 Another St. Brigde, of Killbride, belongs 



45 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 49 See i. Corinthians xiii., 2. 
Vita Quarta S. Brigidre, lib. ii., cap. Ixxxix., & See St. Mark xi., 22, 23. 

p. 561. Vita fertia S. Brigidae, cap. 5I See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

cxxiv., p. 541. Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. cxxv., p. 54li 

46 By Cogitosus. Vita Quarta S. BrigidK, lib. ii., cap. xc. 
4 ? See, the Bollandists " Acta Sancto- pp. 561, 562, 

rum," tomus i., Februarii. Vita ii., S. Bri- s- See Wisdom x. IO. 

gidw, cap. v., p. 139. CHAPTER xn. See Colgan s "Trias 

48 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Thaumaturga." Appendix Quinta ad Act* 

Vita Prima S. Brigidse, sec, xxxv., p. 517. S. Brigidx, cap. xiii., p. 623. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



to this class. Besides the foregoing, we can hardly doubt, that the glorious 
Patroness of Kildare had a very intimate acquaintance, with many of those 
holy men and women, who are ranked among the disciples of the great St. 
Patrick, as most of these were her contemporaries. Members of the Irish 
Apostle s own family circle, who came from Britain, are likely to have been 
among her most devoted Iriends. 

Our saint could hardly have known St. Auxilitis, 2 Bishop of Killossy, 
now Killishee, not far from Kildare, unless, indeed, during the years of her 
childhood, for he departed this life, so early as A.D. 460.3 Certain Arch 
bishops of Armagh, administering the affairs of this church and see, even 
while the great Apostle of Ireland lived, such as St. Binan or Benignus, who 
died, November the gth/ A.D. 468,5 and St. Jarlath who went to heaven, 
February the nth, 6 A.D. 482,7 may have known and conversed with our 
saint. Their position and office, as ruling over the Irish Church, and St. 
Brigid s active services to religion, not in one particular district, but in 
several places, far apart from each other, warrant the foregoing inference. 
Even these survivors of St. Patrick in the See of Armagh, Cormac, who died 
on the i 7th of February, 8 A.D. 497,9 Dubtach I., who departed, A.D. 512 
or 513;" and Ailild I., who died on the i3th of January, 12 A.D. 525^ or 
526 ; J 4 were probably accustomed to receive visits from St. Brigid, or to 
correspond with her, regarding various obligations and duties of her subjects, 
living in the different convents she had founded. 

Several very eminent persons, living at her time, either visited or corres 
ponded with St. Brigid. Hearing about the fame of Gildas, J 5 she sent a request 
to him by a messenger, that he would be pleased to transmit a token, which 
might often remind her of the donor s talents and sanctity. Gildas complied 
with this request, and sent her a small bell, cast by himself. This memorial 
our saint received with great pleasure. She attached more than ordinary 
importance to his gift, owing to the circumstance of having received it, from 
a person so remarkable and so holy. 16 It seems probable, that Gildas, at 
this time, was a young man, and residing in the city of Armagh, where he is 
said to have ably discharged the duties of a professor. Again, it may be 
observed, the holy virgin, St. Brigid, must have been advanced in years, and 
approaching the close oi her mortal career, when she asked for and obtained 
that much prized souvenir of friendship. In like manner, she must have 
been in the decline of life, when St. Brendan 1 ? of Clonfert paid her a visit, in 
order to obtain instruction, on some religious questions. In the legend of 

2 See his Life at the ayth of August. " See his Life at that date. 

3 According to Ussher s Index Chronolo- I3 See Villanueva s " Sanii Patricii, Iber- 
gicus, p. 531* See "Britannicarum Eccle- norum Apostoli, Synodi, Canones, Opus- 
biarum Antiquitates." cula," &c. Appendix vi., p. 384. 

* See his Life at that date. u See Rev. P. J. Carew s " Ecclesiastical 

5 See Harris Ware, vol. i., " Archbishops History of Ireland." Appendix, p. 405. 

of Armagh," pp. 34, 35. 5 See his Acts at the 2yth of January. 

6 See his Lite at that day. l6 See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hiber- 

1 See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hiber- nice," xxix. Januarii, p. 183. 

nue," xi Februarii. Vita S. lerlathei, sive I7 See his Life at the loth of May. In 

Hierlatii, pp. 307, 308. Professor Bryan O Looney s MS. Lile of St. 

8 See his least at that day. Brigid, an interesting anecdote is told, that 

9 See ibid., xvii. Februarii. Acta S. Cor- St. Brendan, on acknowledging to her he 
tnaci, pp. 356, 359. never crossed over seven ridges, without 

10 See Villanueva s " Sancti Patricii, Iber- thinking of God, learned in return from the 
norum Apostoli, Synodi, Canones, Opus- devoted virgin, that from the first moment 
cula " &c. Appendix vi., p. 384. she had formed an idea of God, she never 

" See Harris Ware, vol. i., "Arch- once diverted her attention from the sense 
bishops of Armagh," pp. 36, 37. of His holy presence. See pp. 45, 4 6 - 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



161 



sea, and he wished to have St. Brigid s explanation, regarding such a very 
extraordinary occurrence/ No earthly affection or occupation ever caused 
interruption of her thinking on God. This she confessed to St. Brendan at 

spiritual conference, which took place between them. With Braid s 

St P ?rSn t T? SrCat ! } ; CdiflCd ; Then besto S ""*! benedictions, 
nau ht rovince proceeded on his way towards the Con- 

During his earlier career. St. Finian," afterwards the holy Bishop of 
Clonard, is said to have preached before St. JJrigid and her religious 

lave happened near the close of her career 
J at Kilcullen, most probably was intimate with our saint 
gh in her Acts, no notice of him occurs. However, he was her con- 
and his place, not far removed from Kildare, is at the present 




Church of the Sacred Heart and of St. Brigid, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. 
time happily marked by a very noble parochial church, of Gothic design, 2 



IK See " Acta Sancti Brendani." Edited 
by Rt. Rev. Patrick F. Moran, D.D., 
Bishop of Ossory. Vita S. Brendani, cap. 
xvii., pp. 16, 17. 

19 See his Life at the I2th of December. 

20 This saint is considered by Colgan to 
have been identical with St. Sezin, whose 
Acts are given by Albert le Grande, in his 



Lives of the Saints of British Armorica. 
Those Acts have been reproduced, with 
notes appended, in Colgan s " Acta Sanc 
torum Iliberniae," vi. Martii. Vita S. 
Sezini, pp. 477 to 479. 

- See his Life at the 6th of March. 

22 This was furnished by J. J. MacCarthy, 
architect, of Dublin. 

M 



LIFE OF ST. 13 RIGID. 



and of exquisite proportions, which appropriately takes St. Brigid, the Mary 
of Ireland, for joint patron, united with the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. 23 The venerable Iserninus died in the year 469.^ 

St. Ailbe, Bishop of Kmly, 2 s visited St. Brigid, more than once, to receive 
her opinions regarding matters of a spiritual nature, as her prudence and 
judgment gave her a high character among all her contemporaries. 26 
Fiech, Bishop of Sletty, most probably held interviews with the holy Abbess 
of Kildare, and he is reputed to have composed a hymn in her praise. _ He 
seems to have outlived her for some years. St. Kieran, 27 the Patron Bishop 
of Ossory, lived not far from Kildare, and most probably he had a personal 
knowledge of St. Brigid ; for, he is thought to have survived her, and to 
have lived, until the middle of the sixth century. 28 St. Tighernach, Bishop 
of Clogher, 2 9 was the god-son of St. Brigid, while she resided at Kildare, and 
the infant was baptized by St. Conlcth.s The foregoing would not nearly 
exhaust a list of her pious and distinguished familiars, while the enumeration 
and comparison of other names, with periods and places, might probably 
add considerably to the completeness of her large social circle. 

The saddest memorials of the world and of its fleeting pleasures are the 
parted friends, who drop away from us to the grave, and who precede us 
thither, while we travel to the same goal. It is not well known, as we have 
already stated, how many of the ancient and patriarchal missionaries in 
Ireland enjoyed the friendship and confidence of St. Brigid, besides those 
specially mentioned in her Acts. Her early patron Mel, Bishop of ArdaglV 1 
departed to bliss about the year 487. i 2 Cianan, Bishop of Duleek^followed 
in or about the year 488.34 Bishop Maccaille,3s who gave the veil to our 
holy abbess, died A.D. 489.36 Bishop Melchu or Maolchus? mos t probably 
departed this life, before the close of the fifth century. 3 8 The illustrious 

-; This beautiful church has been erected -3 His Life occurs at the I2th of Sep- 

bv the zealous and pious pastor, Rev. tember. 

Matthew P Lan-an, P.P. of Kilcullcn. St. Ailbe is said to have died A.D. 541. 
The first stone was laid by His Eminence See Drs. Todd s and Reeves " Martyrology 
Paul Cullen, Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin, of Donegal, " pp. 246, 247 
on the ?th of August, 1869 ; while, the de- ^ See his Acts at the 5 th of March 
dication ceremony, performed by the same ? s See Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical Ins- 
venerated Prince of the Church, took place tory of Ireland," vol. 11., chap, x., sec. 2, 
on the 8th of September, 1872. The build- and n. 31, pp. 8, 9. ,,..,-, 
in" material used on the exterior is Tulla- ** See his Life at the 4 th of April. The 
more limestone, of the best description. The close of his life is set down at A.D. 548. 
interior is most elegantly furnished with See Drs. Todd s and Reeves Martyrology 
marble altars, and with details of architec- of Donegal," pp. 94, 95. 
ture or decorations, in a suitable style. The ^ S ee his Life at the 3 rd of May. 
church, towards the close of 1875, was per- 3 See his Life at the bth of I- ebruary. 
fectly completed, both externally and in- - See Dr. O Donovan s Annals of the 
ternally, with the exception of the grand Four Masters, vol. i., pp. 152, 153. 
tower and spire, to be joined to the nave, - See his Life at the 2 4 th of November. 
by a cloistral entrance. The detached i4 Sec ibid. 

building will represent the presbytery, *> See his Life at the 25th of April 

when completed, but, it has yet to be built ; * Se e Dr. O Conor s < Rerum Hibern - 

however under direction of the energetic and carum Scnptores, tomus iv. Annales Ul- 

amiable pastor, we believe, this portion of tonienses, pp. 7, 8. By the compiler, he is 

the work will not be long delayed. The incorrectly styled, " Epi Manncnsis. 

present en-raving, by Mrs. Millard, is taken 37 Although some persons rank Saints Ere, 

from a carefully-executed lithograph of the Mel and Melchuo among St. Brigid s dis- 

intended and complete architectural de- ciples, Colgan thinks, they ought rather be 

i(Tn accounted her directors. See Inas inau- 

Vsee Ussher s " Britannicarum Ecclesi- maturga." Appendix Quinta ad Acta S. 

arum Anticruitates." Index Chronologicus, Brigida: cap. xni., p. 623 

3 See his Life at the 6th oi February. 



p. 522. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



63 



Apostle of Ireland, St. Patrick,?* was called away to Heaven, it is said, about 
A.D. 493.4 Mochaoi,* 1 Abbot of Mahee Island, died A.D. 496. St Cormac < 2 
Bishop of Armagh, and called, likewise, of Chrioch-in-Ernaidhe, departed 
this hfe the same year.43 St. Ibar" O r Iver died in the commencement of 
the sixth century.45 Cerban, a bishop of Feart-Cearbain, at Tara, died about 
the same date/ 6 St. I5ri-id s friend the holy Bishop Broon, of Cuil-Irra, in 
onnaught, died the 8th of June,- ? A.D. 511.43 In the n j nct j cth ycar of his 
age, on the 2nd of November, A.D. 512, or 51349 died St. Ere, Bishop of 
.ilcach, and of Fearta-fear-Feig,s but better known as the Bishop of Shine, 
and a particular friend of St. Brigid. This same year, Dubhtach, of Druim 
DearblV 1 and Bishop of Armagh, departed this life. St. Mac Nissi, whose 
least is kept on the 31-1! of September, died A.D. 5I4.5 2 St. Darerca, or 
Moninney3 of Rilleavy. died the 6th of July, A.D. 517.34 

Some unreliable accounts have it, 55 that the first Bishop of Kildare was 
Lonius. A certain, or rather an uncertain, I vorus, is stated to have succeeded 
him. _ But. nothing trustworthy can be found, regarding the dates for their 
appointment, or those terms, during which they held office.- 6 Indeed, we 
must more safely hold, that St. Conleth was the first prelate, called upon to 
rule this ancient see.:- He had lived a holy and anchoretical life at Old 
Connell, where he edilied all who noticed his habits in this place, chosen for 



See his Life at the ijth of -March. 

4 Sec Dr. (/Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four .Masters," vol. i., pp. 154 to 159. 

41 See liis Life at the 2_}nl of June. 

4J See hU l.ile at the ijth of February. 

4; See ibid., pp. loo. 101. See, also, Dr. 
O Conor s " kerum 1 1 iberniearuin Scrip- 
tore.-, tonuis iv. Annales I ltunicn>c^, p. 

9- 

44 See his Lite at the 231-.! of April. He 
was a dUciple of St. 1 atriek. Sec I Jr. 
Tudd s "St. 1 atrick, ApovJe of Ireland. 
Introduction, pp. 215, 210. 

4 - Tlu> "Annals of Lister" have his death 
at A. n. 499, 500 or 503. Sec Dr. O Conor s 
Rcruni Hibernicaruin Scriptores," tonuis 
iv., pp. 9, n. The "Annals of the Four 
Masters" have A.D. 500 (See ibid., tonuis 
iii., p. 137) ; while those of Clonmacnoise 
enter it, at A.I). 504. In William .M. ilen- 
nessy s " Chronicum Scotorum," the dale 
is A.D. 500. See pp. 34, 35. 

40 The "Annals of the Four Masters" 
enter his demise at A.D. 499; while, the 
"Annals of Lister" have it at A.D. 503. 
Those of Tighernach state A.D. 504. See 
Dr. O Conor s " Kerum Hibernicaruin 
Scriptores," tomus ii. Tigernachi Annales, 
p. 127. Also, tomus iv. Annales Llto- 
nienses, pp. 10, u. The " Annals of Clon 
macnoise" place it, also, at the latter year. 

47 See his festival at that date. 

48 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 166, 167. 

49 See Abbe Ma-Geoghegan s "Ilistoirc 
de 1 lrlande," tome i., panic ii., chap, ii., 
p. 286. 

50 See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 166 to 168. 

51 Dr. O Donovan supposes this to be the 



place called Derver, county of Loulh. 

See Dr. Reeves " Fcclesiastical Anti- 
fiuities of Down, Connor and Dromore." 
Appendix T., p. 239. 

5i St. Moninnia, with her disciples, 
Saints Darlassara, Achea, lirecnata, Dim- 
nata, and others, are ranked among St. 
Brigid s disciples, by some writers. Lint 
Colgan thinks, whatever may be said of the 
rot, that St. Moninna must be considered, 
rather as the impress of our saint. See 
tile Irish Life of St. Brigid, cap. 33, 38 ; 
St. LI tan s Life of St. Brigid, cap. 18, 44, 
51, 78, 116, 124, 132; Animosus, lib. i., 
cap. 39, lib. ii., cap. 19 ; the Martyrology of 
Donegal, and of Marianus Gorman, at the 
1st of February, 291)1 of January, and 2ml 
of December. See " Trias Thaumaturga. 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidae, cap. 
xiii., p. 623. 

54 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 168, 169. The 
" Annals of Tigernach," however, have A.D. 
513. Sec Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Iliber- 
nicarum Scriptores," tomus ii., p. 129. 

- An ancient register has been cited for 
this statement, and for succeeding items 
furnished by Richard Stanihurst, and by 
Raphael Ftolinshed. See Holinshed s 
" Chronicles of England, Scotland and 
Ireland," vol. vi. "A treatise containing 
a plaine and perfect Description of Ireland, 
with an Introduction to the better Vnder- 
standing of the Histories apperteining to 
that Hand :" compiled by liichard Stani 
hurst. The first chapter, p. 45. 

s J See Sir James Ware, " De Prasulibus 
Lagenia;," p. 42. 

S? See Harris Ware, vol. i., " Bishops fo 
Kildare," pp. 380, 381. 



1 64 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



his retreat. Yet, his missionary duties occasionally called him to mingle 
with the world. The holy Conleth or Conlaedh, Bishop of Kildare, who 
had been appointed to fill that office, at the instance of St. Brigid, departed 
this life on the 3rd of May, 58 A.D. Sig. 59 His fate must have proved 
peculiarly distressing to the sensitive soul of the illustrious abbess ; for, 
after he had directed the ecclesiastical affairs of his see and her own religious 
institute for several years, with great judgment and piety, probably during 
one of his episcopal journeys, he was torn asunder by ferocious wolves. 
Yet, his remains were in part recovered, and afterwards placed in a rich 
shrine. 60 It seems likely, that veneration, entertained for him by the tender 
virgin, induced her to have that reliquary prepared, in course of the very 
few years she survived. Those friends, parted on earth, were yet destined 
soon to meet, and to enjoy the eternal rewards of Heaven. St. Buite Mac 
Bronaigh of Monasterboice died on the yth of December, 61 A.D. 52 1. 62 St. 
Beoadh, Bishop of Ardcarne, departed this life on the 8th of Marches A.D. 
523. 6 4 St. Brigid may have known most if not all the foregoing saintly 
persons, who were her contemporaries, and who, it seems likely, departed to 
a better world, before she was called to her happy home beyond the grave. 

Among those many miracles, wrought by St. Brigid, this following account 
is deemed 65 not unworthy of being recorded. A certain simple rustic 66 saw 
a fox, belonging to a king. 67 This animal was straying one day, near the 
royal residence. cs The countryman supposed it, at first, to have been a wild 
denizen of the woods ; whereas, in reality, it had been domesticated and 
trained to a variety of tricks, in order to amuse at his castle the king, with 
his chiefs and attendants. Ignorant about its being a tame creature, the 
rustic killed it, 6 ? in the presence of many witnesses. Immediately appre 
hended and brought into the king s presence, a serious charge was preferred 
against him. The king felt very indignant, on learning what had occurred. 
He declared, in a passion, that man must be put to death, while his wife 
and children should be reduced to a state of bondage, and, moreover, that 
his small property should be forfeited. The pious and venerable Brigid 
heard about this transaction. She felt greatly grieved for the condition of that 
unfortunate man, thus unjustly condemned to death ; but, her active charity 
and natural benevolence of disposition urged her to make an appeal to the 
monarch for mercy. Ordering her chariot to be yoked, and offering prayers 
to God, she journeyed over the adjoining plain, on her way to the king s 
castle.? Her importunate and fervent prayers were heard by the Almighty, 

:3 Sec his Life, given at that date. St. Brigid. this rustic is called a clown of 

59 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of ihe Brigid s people, and he is said to have 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 170, 171. been engaged cutting firewood. See pp. 

60 This has been very particularly described 39, 40. 

by Cogitosus. See Colgan s " Trias Thau- 6? In the Fifth Life of our saint, he is 

maturga." Secunda Vita S. Brigid ra, cap. called the King of Leinster. 

xxxv., p. 523. 6S It is somewhat amusing to read all the 

61 See his Life at this date. . imaginative circumstances, with which 

62 See Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the Abbate D. Giacomo Certani contrives to 
Four Masters," vol. i. , pp. 170, 171. invest the relation of this incident, which he 

63 See notices of him at this date. found less complexly inserted in his original 

64 See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hiber- Latin authorities. See "La Santita Prodi- 
nise," viii. Martii. Vita S. Beoadi sive giosa. Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro 
Beati, pp. 562, 563. In the " Annals of Quarto, pp. 287 to 295. 

Boyle," the death of the two foregoing 69 See the account of this transaction in 

saints is placed so early as A.D. 499. See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of the Saints," 

John D Alton s "History of Ireland, and vol. ii., February 1st, pp. 19, 20. There, 

Annals of Boyle," vol. ii., p. 75. however, the animal in question is said to 

65 By Cogitosus. have been a tamed wolf. 

66 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of ? From the description given, it is pro- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



165 



who directed one of the wild foxes in the wood to approach her chariot, at 
a swift pace.? 1 This animal immediately entered the vehicle, and quietly 
lay down there, nestling in the folds of our saint s garments.? 2 When the 
pious woman arrived at the king s palace, she earnestly entreated, the captive 
might be liberated from his chains, as he was not morally accountable for 
that act committed. But, the king refused his pardon, and declared, more 
over, that the criminal should not be liberated, unless a fox, equal in cunning 
and performances to that one he had lost, were restored to him. Then, our 
saint set before the king and his courtiers the fox, which had accompanied 
her in the chariot, and which appeared to rival the former one in domesticity, 
tricks, and devices. Seeing this, the king was greatly pleased, and he imme 
diately ordered the captive s restoration to liberty, while the chiefs and multi 
tude present could not but applaud what they had witnessed. Yet, soon after 
the poor man s liberation and pardon, when St. Brigid returned to her home, 
that presented fox, astutely mingling with the multitude, contrived to escape 
once more to his den, in the woods, notwithstanding the pursuit of horsemen 
and of dogs, over the open country, through which he iled.?^ All the people, 
living in that part of the province, admired what had occurred, while greatly 
venerating Brigid s sanctity and miraculous gifts. Her fame was daily on 
the increase, and she was regarded as the special favourite of Heaven.?-* 

At one time, a curtain rich man, living in a distant province, came to our 
saint. Among other gifts, he offered her a present of some fat swine. 75 This 
man requested, also, that some of Brigid s servants might be sent back with 
him, to drive those animals from his village, which lay at a considerable 
distance from her church.? It was situated, according to one account, in 
the plain of l- cmhiiv 7 in the Xandesii territory," 3 and in the province of 



bable, this monarch resided at Nans some 
tun miles from KiMare. It is sometimes 
called Xas-Laighean. See li Miscellany of 
the Celtic Society. 1 Ldited by John 
O Donovan, LL. J). Appendix, n. (b), p. 



Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Secunda S. Brigida?, cap. xxi., p. 521. 

?- The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, who relates 
this occurrence, states, " there came a wolf 
over the bog racing towards her, and it 
leaped into the chariot, and allowed her to 
caress it." " Lives of the Saints," vol. ii., 
February 1st, p. 20. 

7i In the First Life, this incident is related 
thus, in the Latin version : 

" Tradidit vulpem sylvestrem 
Cuidam rustico egenti ; 
(,)ui ab sylvam postea evasit 
Quamvis cum persequebantur turma 1 ." 

Vita Prima S. Brigido.% sec. xxxi., pp. 
516, 517. See, also, Vita Tertia S. Brigido;, 
cap. cxxviii., p. 541. Vita Quarta S. Brigida 1 , 
lib. ii., cap. xciii., p. 562. 

74 This account is also contained in our 
saint s Fifth Life, and in the usual diffuse 
style, with adjunct circumstances, not found 
in her other Lives. Vita Quinta S. Brigidce, 
cap. xxxix. , pp. 576, 577. 

75 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Secunda S. Brigidrc, cap. xx., pp. 



520, 521. 

7 " In the Third Life of our saint, published 
by Co!i;an, we read, " spatio itineris, 14 
dierum ;" but, in a Carthusian MS. of 
Cologne, we find, : trium vel quatuor die- 
rum." The latter reading is more in accor 
dance with all other authorities, and with 
the probable facts. 

~~ Otherwise called Magh-Feimhin, now 
the barony of IlTa and Offa Last, in the 
south-east of Tipperary County. It was 
the seat of the O Donoghues, known as the 
Loghanacht of Cashel ; but, soon after the 
Lnglish invasion, these were driven from 
that territory, when they settled in Logha 
nacht Ui Donnchadha, now Magimihy 
barony, in the county of Kerry. See "The 
Topographical Poems of John O Dubhagain 
and Giolla na Naomh OTIuidhrin." Edited 
by [ohn O Donovan, LL.I)., n. 523, p. 
li. 

~ :i The Deise or Nan-desi, descended from 
Fiaclia Luighdhe, the elder brother to Conn 
of the Hundred Battles. Having been ex 
pelled from Meath by Cormac Mac Airt, 
they possessed that part of Minister, extend 
ing from the River Suir to the sea, and from 
Lismore to Credanhead. They occupied the 
eastern extremity of the present Waterford 
county. See Dr. O Donovan s " Leabhar 
na g-Ceart, or, Book of Rights," n. (k), pp. 
49> 5- 



i66 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Momonia. The place is called Magh Fea,?9 by St. Brogan Cloen. So Our 
saint allowed her drovers to proceed with the man, and after a day s journey, 
they all came to a mountain district, called Grabor. 81 Here, the man found 
his swine straying, and at once he knew them to have been driven away by 
wolves, 82 from his own far distant lands. But, when the servants of St. 
Brigid went thither, by some wonderful instinct, and as it were, through a 
reverence for the holy woman, the wolves departed, leaving those swine un 
harmed. The drovers, receiving their charge, conducted them safely through 
vast woods and extensive plains, to the farm of their mistress. Here they 
arrived, it is stated, on that day succeeding their departure, and the herdsmen 
related all those wonderful facts which had occurred during their absence. 83 

St. Brigid s great example drew other pious ladies to a cloistered life. The 
daughter of a certain prince had devoted herself to God, by a vow of chastity. 
But her father desired her to many a husband of his choice. On the night 
appointed for her nuptials, however, even when the marriage feast had been 
prepared, this maiden fled from her parents, and took refuge with Brigid. 84 
The following morning, the trembling fugitive s father pursued her, with some 
horsemen. Seeing this cavalcade at a distance, the glorious abbess made a 
sign of the cross. Then, all were fixed to the earth, until they had repented 
of their evil intention. Afterwards, these horsemen were liberated from 
their strange position. Thus was the protected lady delivered from a worldly 
spouse, and united to a heavenly one, according to her own most earnest 
desires. 85 

It so happened, on a certain occasion, a person needing it, applied to 
Brigid for a measure 86 of honey. Whilst our saint felt acutely, that she had 



79 Magh-Fea is identified with the present 
barony of Forth, in the county of Carlow. 
See O Mahony s Keating s " History of Ire 
land," book ii., part i., chap, i., p. 421 and 
n. 60. However, the real plain is probably 
Magh-Feimhin. 

80 According to the Latin version, an ac 
count is thus given, in the First Life : 

Forcum pinguem ipsi datum, 

Per campum Magefea dictum (res pros- 
el ara) 

Insecuti sunt lupi, 

Usque dum effugiens veniret ad IIu- 
achter Gabhra." 

Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " Vita 
Prima S. Brigidrc, xxx., p. 516. 

81 Abbate D. Giacomo Certani, who re 
lates these miraculous occurrences, states, 
that this mountain separated the ancient 
provinces of Meath and Leinster. Sec "La 
Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida 
Ibernese." Libro Sesto, p. 535. This 
foreign writer, however, totally mistakes 
the local position of Grabor or rather 
Huachter Gabhra which seems to have 
been somewhere near or within the present 
mountain ranges of Slievemargy, between 
the county of Kilkenny and Queen s County. 
For some highly interesting expositions, re 
lating to Gabhran territory, the reader is re 
ferred to a learned contribution, "Topo 
graphical and Historical Illustrations of the 



County and City of Kilkenny," by John 
Ilogan. Sec "Journal of the Kilkenny 
and South-East of Ireland Archaeological 
Society," vol. v. New series, pp. 234 to 
251. 

a - In those early days, such animals in 
fested our woods and wastes, and to them 
might well apply the poet s lines : 

" Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave, 

Burning for blood, bony, and gaunt, and 
grim, 

Assembling wolves in raging troops de 
scend, 

And, pouring o er the country, bear 
along, 

Keen as the north wind sweeps the glossy 
snow. 

All is their prize." 

James Thomson s " Winter." 

83 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vita Tertia S. Brigida?, cap. cxxix. and p. 
78, pp. 541, 545. Vita Quarta S. Brigidte, 
lib. ii., cap. xciv. , p. 562. 

84 This account occurs in Abbate D. 
Giacomo Certani s "La Santita Prodigiosa. 
Vita di S. Brigida Ibernese." Libro Sesto, 
pp. 529 to 532. 

85 See, Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. 
Vita Tertia S. Brigidae, cap. cxx. , p. 541- 

85 In two of our saint s Lives, this "quan 
tum" is called a Sextarius, which was an 
old Roman measure, holding something 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 167 



no honey as a present for the applicant, suddenly, the hum of bees was 
heard under the pavement of that house, in which she resided. s ? When 
that spot, from which the humming proceeded, had been examined, a 
sufficient amount of honey, to relieve the petitioner s wants, was there found. 
The man received as much as he asked from St. Brigid, and with joy returned 
afterwards towards his home. -" 1 

The following miracle, performed by St. Brigid, has been recorded. 
Cogitosus precedes it with an account, which is of still greater interest, to 
the Irish historian. The king. 8 - ruling over that part of the country, in 
which our saint lived. - had ordered the construction of a road, which should 
be able to bear the driving of chariots, waggons and other vehicles, with a 
large array of horse and foot, tor purposes ot a social, civil or military nature. 
He commanded the inhabitants of all districts and territories, under his 
sway, to be assembled, and to take part in such labour.9 1 That road, he 
intended to construct in a permanent manner. For such purpose, branches 
of trees were used, and stones were placed for a substructure. Certain 
trenches or mounds were formed through a deep and an almost impassable 
bog, >- while they were brought through soft and marsh}- places, where a 
large river^ ran. When various subject tribes and families had assembled, 
t ne road was marked out in different sections, to be severally constructed, 
by the clans or people, to whom those portions were respectively assigned. 
But, when the difficult and intricate river-section fell to the lot of a certain 
powerful clan, its labouring contingent sought to avoid this most onerous 
part of the road-making. Compelled, by their superior force, St. Brigid s 
weaker gang of workmen had to undertake that labour. The more powerful 
clan unfairly selected an easier section, which was apart from the river. 
"Whereupon, Brigid s kindred 4 came to her, and complained about the harsh 
and unjust treatment received from their stronger rivals. Our saint told them, 
that the river should move its course, from where they were obliged to work, 



about our pint and a half. In Troy and ; J Abbate 1). (iiacomo Ccrtani, who rc- 

Avoinlupois weight, it is variously estimated, laics this incident, calls him the King of 

as containing from eighteen to twenty-four Lein.iter, and loeali/es the road-making or 

ounces. In Horace, alhiMon is made to embankment in "la ProvinciadiLabraide" 

"vini sextarius. 1 See lib. i. , Satirarum, but on what grounds maybe questioned, 

i. 1. 74. See " La Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. 

See Abbate D. Giaromo Cerlani s " La JSrigida Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 404 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida to 408. 
Ibernese." Libro Ouinto, pp. 438, 439. - Most probably at Kildare. 

" See, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " si << According to the ancient Irish annals, 
Vita Secunda S. P.rigidie, cap. xxx., p. and other fragments of Irish history, the 
522. Vita Tertia S. Brigidaj, cap. cxxx., ancient Irish had many roads which were 
p. 541. Vita Ouarta S. Brigichfi, lib. ii., cleaned and kept in repair according to 
cap. xcv., ]>. 562. As usual, the foregoing law." Dr. O Donovan s " Leabhar na g- 
miracle, related in Vita Ouinta S. Brigidre, Ceart, or The Book of Rights." _ Intro- 
cap, liv. , p. 582, is amplified, with many duction, p. Ivi. Some very curious illustra- 
additional details. It is possible, the follow- < : MIS and an enumeration of several old roads 
ing account may refer to the same incident ; follow, ibid., pp. Ivi. to Ix. 
but, most probably, it relates to a different ^ Cntnna, Anglicc, h>?s, are frequently 
miracle : mentioned in the Lives of our Irish saints. 

9! This may have been the Liffy or the 

" Medo erat ei oblatus Barrow. 

Nee detriment! quidquam passus est w This, with other allusions in her Acts, 

offerens : seems to indicate, that St. Brigid s family 

Repertus est juxta ipsius domum belonged to Leinster, at least on her father s 

Sine defectu vel augmento. " side. 

93 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. 

Vita Prima S. Brigidx, sec. xli., p. 517. Vita Secunda S. Brigidiv, cap. xxxi., pp. 

Ibid. 522, 5 2 3- 



1 68 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



and should run through that section, chosen by their oppressors. On the 
morning, when all were assembled for the work, it was found, the river left 
its former bed, and that place, for which St. Brigid s friends had been 
specially drafted ; while, its course ran near to that quarter, selected by the 
numerous and powerful clan, who had thought to circumvent and oppress 
their weaker fellow-labourers. As a proof of this miracle, attributed to the 
holy abbess, Cogitosus remarks, the deserted channel and empty valley, 
which had formerly been filled with water, might be seen, in his time ; while, 
the river itself flowed at some distance from this natural channel, but then a 
dry and deserted hollow. 05 Long after the illustrious saint s departure, 
popular tradition preserved a recollection of the supernatural occurrence, and 
associated it with some particular conformation of ground,? 6 which probably 
has not yet disappeared. It seems not unlikely, a river not far from Kildare 
and some contiguous boggy or low-lying land may afford a clue to discover 
that dried channel. 

Among the number of our saint s miracles, Cogitosus tells us, that the 
following occurrence is not the least memorable. Three lepers, having asked 
an alms from St. Brigid, received from her a silver vessel. 97 Fearing, how 
ever, that distributing the proceeds of this gift might prove a cause of con 
tention among them, our saint directed a certain man, accustomed to deal 
in silver and gold, that he should divide the vessel into three equal parts. 
One of these was to be the property of each leper. The dealer in precious 
metals began to excuse himself, by saying, that he could not fairly execute 
such a commission. Then, holy Brigid, taking the silver vessel, cast it 
against a stone and broke it, as she intended, into three parts equally 
valuable. s 8 Wonderful to relate ! when these three divisions were afterwards 
weighed, no single fragment was found to be lighter or heavier than another, 00 - 
even in the slightest appreciable degree. Thus, without envy or quarrel, 
these poor men returned joyfully to their homes. 100 

We are informed, 101 that while the holy abbess and her nuns were en 
gaged in prayer, a certain rich nobleman suffered from a dangerous attack 
of fever. 102 Setting little account on his temporal possessions, at that time, 
and being willing to perform a meritorious action, he desired his servants to 
select and present the best cow from his herd, as a gift for our saint. His ser 
vants, however, selected the worst heifer, which could be found ; but, on the 



96 See ibid. In the Third and Fourth Fonderatje erant illre partcs per artificem: 
Lives of our saint, the foregoing account is Et repertum est (ecce miraculum aliud), 
greatly abridged. Vita Tertia S. Brigida:, Quod nulla pars inventa est 

cap. cxxxi., p. 541. Vita Quarta S. Brigid^, 1 rceponderasse alteri." 

lib. ii., cap. xcvi., p. 562. In the latter 

lives, it is also stated, that the dry course of Vita Prima S. Brigidse, sees, xxxix., xl., 

the river was to be seen at a time when the p. 5 1 7. See also a similar statement in 

authors wrote. Vita Quinta S. Brigidce, cap. liv., pp. 580, 

97 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La 58 r - 

Santita Prodigiosa. Vita di S. Brigida " Cogitosus adds, as it were parentheti- 

Ibernese." Libro Quinto, pp. 43610438. cally, " licet uno obulo, de his inventa est 

98 This miraculous occurrence seems al- tribus partibus." 

luded to, when we read, according to the I0 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumattirga." 

Latin version of St. Brogan Cloen s original Secunda Vita S. Brigidse, cap. xxviii., p. 

Irish : 522. 

101 In St. Brigid s Sixth Metrical Life. 

" Donarium argenteum, quod non potuit I02 " Dives habebat opes teger, quod per- 

frangere deret auri, 

Faber gerarius (quod prseclarum erat Copiam & argenti, multarum pondera 

Sanctse) rerum, 

Fregit Brigida sua manu, Centones, stimulos, pecora, ac in- 

Ut exsiliei-it in tres partes tequales. gentia rura." 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 169 



night following, the animal, thus selected, was killed by seven wolves. I0 3 In 
the morning, those herdsmen not only found the heifer killed, in the midst of 
other cattle, but even the dead bodies of those seven wolves were scattered 
near the carcass, which they had not been able to devour. This remarkable 
occurrence was long remembered in that part of the province. 104 Our saint s 
great miracles were not alone famous in her own country ; for, with the 
lapse of time, Brigid s name became celebrated through all nations, where 
the Christian faith had been received. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

bT. BRIGID S REPUTED RESIDENCE AT GLASTONBURY THE EARLY PRACTICE OF WRITING 

AND ILLUMINATING IN IRELAND WRITINGS ASCRIBED TO ST. BRIGID THE CON- 
VEN lUAL RULE AND DISCIPLINE, UNDER WHICH HERSELF AND HER NUNS LIVED 
HER CHARITY IN RELIEVING THE POOR HER MODESTY, HER SELF-SACRIFICING 
SPIRIT, HER LIBERALITY, HER GIFTS OF MIND AND PERSON, HER POWERS FOR 
HEALING THE SICK AND INFIRM, HER VIGILS, AND HER CARE FOR SUBJECTS. 

WE cannot receive as duly authenticated, or even as probable, several 
assertions of mediaeval and more recent writers, who have treated concerning 
this illustrious virgin. It has been stated, that about the year 488, Saint 
Brigid left Ireland, and proceeded towards Glastonbury. 1 There, it is said, 
she remained, until advanced in years, on an island, and convenient to the 
monastery in that place. 2 Whether she died there or returned to Ireland is 
doubted. 3 But, it seems probable enough, such a tradition had its origin, 
owing to this circumstance, that a different St. Brigid, called of Inis-bridge, 
or of Bride s Island, had been the person really meant. She lived many 
years on a small island, near Glastonbury, called Brides-hay, i.e., Brigida. 
tnsula.4 This latter St. Brigid is said to have been buried, at Glastonbury. 5 
Another cause for a grievous mistake, about St. Brigid s and St. Columkille s 6 



3 These animals appear to have been very - Colgan, referring to this fable, remarks 

numerous in Ireland, as also to have been on the ignorance of that writer, who assigned 

destructive to human beings and to domes- the burial-place of these aforesaid saints 

ticatecl animals. At so la\e a period as the to Glastonbury. This city never contained 

beginning of last century, some wolves were the bodies of our St. Brigid, nor of St. 

to be found. In Ulster, the last wolf known Columkille, Abbot and Confessor.* The 

to exist was hunted from Benyevanagh latter is even ignorantly named, Colum 

mountain, in Londonderry county, and it Killa, after such a manner, as to indicate a 

was killed in the woods near Dungiven. female. See " Trias Thaumaturga." Ap- 

See " Legend Lays of Ireland," by Lage- pendix Ouarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. vi., 

niensis, No. II., n. i., p. 8. pp. 617, 618. 

IO - See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 3 Such is the account, given by an ancient 

Vita Sexta S. Brigidae, sec. xxxv., p. 569. anonymous chronographer of Glastonbury. 

CHAPTER xm. J Whilst it has been bee Ussher s "Britannicarum Ecclesiarum 

falsely supposed, by some Scottish writers, Antiquitates," cap. xvii., p. 467. 
that the great St. Brigid had been buried 4 We find it also called Parva Hibernia, 

at Abernethy, in Scotland, an error nearly and Bckery, reminding us of Beg-Eri, off 

similar has been propagated through a the coast of Wexford, and about three miles 

treatise, "On the Antiquities of Glastonbury and a half mile north-east of that town. See 

Church." Here, it was supposed, that St. " Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland," vol. 

Brigid and St. Colum-Kille were buried, i. , p. 230. 

on the northern side of its high altar, in a 5 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. 

conspicuous stone tomb, and over the Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. 

monument of John de Cantia, Abbot. See vi., p. 618. 
Ussher s " Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Anti- 6 See ibid., pp. 617, 618. 

quitates," cap. xvii., pp, 466, 467. 



170 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



interment at Glastonbury, may be traced, owing to this latter place having 
been possibly confounded with Down, in Ireland. ? This city was called 
Dun da-Lethglas, 8 in our ancient language. A fable, propagated by some 
ignorant legend-mongers and scribes, had its probable origin from the 
circumstance, that our two great Irish Saints had been buried, in the town 
or fort called Leath-glas ; while, it is supposed, Lcat/i-glas had been incor 
rectly substituted for Glaston? It is said, this latter designation may be 
more fully Anglicized, " the glassy city," or "the city of glass. 

Among other laudable practices, which were followed by tne pious and 
cultivated intelligence of holy Brigid, her nuns and scribes, 11 that of writing 
or copying religious books must deserve especial regard. 12 
to Pa^an times, and derivable from eastern climes, or from the Druidic 
schools,^ the long-neglected Celtic art of illumination was, at least, charac 
teristic of the ages of faith in this kingdom. 1 * So skilful were our sainted 
illuminators of old, so wonderful was their work of ornamentation, so elaborate, 
so interlaced and intertwined, so minute and yet so perfect in all details were 
the manuscripts of our ancient scribes, 1 * that the first Anglo-Norman sett 



i It is true, the okl writer expresses some 
doubt respecting the reliability of his infor 
mation. 

8 It is rendered in Latin, collcm or more 
correctly, arccm binomm mediorum catena, 
according to Joceline, in his Life of St. 
Patrick. 

9 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S . Brigidie, cap. 
vi., p. 618. 

10 The very inexact chronographer brings 
St. Columkille to Glastonbury, A.D. 504, 
several years before the great Apostle of 
Caledonia was born. See Ussher s " Bri- 
tannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates," cap. 

xvii., p. 467- 

11 The most illustrious artists of modern 
times have not concealed their admiration 
for these works of our fathers ; they only 
lament, that it seems to be no longer possible 
to imitate them. Digby Wyatt and Professor 
J. O. Westwood have strongly expressed 
themselves, concerning the beauty and ori 
ginality of this Keltic art. See J. O. West- 
wood s " Paktographia Sacra Pictoria." 
Book of Kells, p. I. 

12 Among the most elegant and curious 
illustrations of ancient Irish caligraphy, 
produced in our day, must be noticed those 
incomparable drawings of fac-similes, by 
Miss Margaret Stokes, included in a very 
large but thin 410 work, intituled, "De 
scriptive Remarks on Illuminations in Cer 
tain Ancient Irish Manuscripts," by Rev. 
fames Henthorn Todd, D.D., F.S.A. 
London, M.DCCC. LXIX. The monogram 
copied from the " Book of Kells" is alone 
a most wonderful art production. Another 
charming work contains coloured drawings 
on stone of natural landscapes and interlaced 
letters or fac-similes, exactly copied from Irish 
Manuscripts or scenes by Miss Stokes. This 
is intituled, "The Cromlech on Howth." 
A Poem. By Samuel Ferguson, Q.C., 
M.R.I. A. With illuminations from the 



Book of Kells and of Durrow, and Draw 
ings from Nature. By M. S. With Notes 
on Celtic ornamental Art. Revised by 
George Petrie, LL.D. London, mdccclxi., 
folio size. 

13 See some admirable observations, re 
ferring to this very subject, in Very Rev. 
Ulick J. Bourke s " Aryan Origin of the 
Gaelic Race and Language," &c., chap, 
xii., pp. 328 to 338. 

14 See an interesting article, on l lie Art 
of Illuminating : as it was practised of old : 
its revival," appended to Very Rev. Ulick 
I. Bourke s work, "The Bull Ineffabilis 
in Four Languages ; or, The Immaculate 
Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary 
denned," &c., pp. 103 to 122. 

J 5 For proof of these assertions, the reader 
has only to examine some of the many ori 
ginals in our Dublin Libraries. Failing 
such opportunity, a magnificent and very 
laro-e 410 work will satisfy. It is intituled, 
"Fac-similes of National Manuscripts 01 
Ireland," selected and edited under the 
direction of the Rt. Hon. Edward Sullivan, 
Master of the Rolls in Ireland, by J. T. 
Gilbert, F.S.A., M.R.I. A., Secretary of 
the Public Record Office of Ireland, and 
Photozincographed by command of Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria, by Major-General 
Sir Henry James, R.E., F.R.S., Director 
General of the Ordnance Survey, part i. 
Published by Authority cf the Lords Com 
missioners of Her Majesty s Treasury, under 
the direction of the Master of the Rolls in 
Ireland. Public Record Office of Ireland, 
Dublin, MDCCCLXXIV. No less than forty- 
four beautifully coloured plates, containing 
several hundred most elegant and accurate 
specimens of initial letters, are in this part. 
It includes, likewise, a learned introduction, 
with historic and descriptive memoranda, 
as also modern versions, for the use of per 
sons unaccustomed to the archaic caligraphy 
of the manuscript pages delineated. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



171 



regarded those vellum pages as the work of angels, and not of men. 16 Giraldus 
Cambrensis relates, that a tradition existed in his day, concerning a miracle, 
said to have taken place, during our saint s life-time. 1 ? On a certain occasion , 
a scribe, belonging to St. Brigid s monastery, undertook transcription of a 
book of the Gospels, according to St. Jerome s version. 13 That night, on 
which he had commenced his task, an angel is said to have appeared. This 
heavenly messenger bore a certain tablet, upon which a beautiful impression 
was depicted ; at the same time, that angel asked the scribe, if he could 
reproduce a similar illustration, on the title-page. The writer replied, such an 
effort exceeded his ability. Then the angel said : " On to-morrow, tell your 
mistress, she must pour forth her prayers before Cod s throne, so that your 
corporal and mental vision may be able to behold accurately, and to under 
stand with due perception, and that your hand maybe properly directed, in trac 
ing corresponding characters." The following night, an angel again appeared. 
He bore the same drawing, and presented many other illustrations. All of 
these, that scribe carefully impressed on his memory ; while, with the greatest 
exactness, he reproduced those different figures and tracings represented, 
introducing them in suitable places, throughout his book, it is remarked, St. 
Brigid continued her prayers, during the progress of this wonderful work, 
until it issued from the scribe s hands, in a most perfect state. 3 Afterwards, 
this manuscript was an object of admiration to all persons of taste. It called 
forth the warm eulogistic commendations of Giraldus Cambrensis, 20 who 
appears to have examined it with great interest and minuteness. 21 

It seems probable, that such a tradition as the foregoing may serve to 
account for a rumour, regarding our saint having composed " Twelve Books 
of Revelations." However, it will be found, on enquiry, that no ancient 



10 The late lamented Rev. James (laffney 
writes, "The wondrous excellence attained 
by the Iri>h in the art of illuminating has 
never been equalled. "The Ancient Irish 
Chinch, chap, iv., p. IIO, n. 

7 See (jiraldi Cambrensis " Opera. 
Edited by James ! . Dimock, M.A., vol. 
v. "Topographic Ilibernica," distinctio 
ii., cap. xxxviii., p. 125. 

" See " Trias Thaumaturga," p. 607. 

See (liralili Cambrensis "Opera." 
Edited by James I ". Dimock, M.A., vol. v. 
"Topographic Hibeniicc, distinctio ii., 
cap. xxxix., p. 124. Alluding to the won 
derful " l!ook of Kells," it has been ob 
served : " Of this very book, Mr. West- 
wood examined the pages, as I did, for 
hours together, without ever detecting a 
false line, or an irregular interlacement. 
In one space of about a quarter of an inch 
superficial he counted, with a magnifying- 
glass, no less than one hundred and fifty- 
eight interlacements, of a slender ribbon 
pattern, formed of white lines, edged by 
black ones, upon a black ground. No 
wonder that tradition should allege that 
these unerring lines should have been traced 
by angel-." "The Art of Illuminating: 
what it was, what it should be, and how 
it may be practised." An Essay, by Uigby 
Wyatt, Architect. Appended to a series of 
plates executed by W. R. Tymms, illustrative 
of the Art of Illuminating, as practised in 



Europe from the earliest times. Part i., p. 
15. Eondon : privately printed, 410, no 
date. 

- lie remarks : Here do you sec the 
Divinely-impressed face of Majesty; here 
the evangelistic and mystic forms, some 
having six, some four, and some two wings ; 
here the head of an eagle, there that of a 
calf, here the face of a man, and there that 
of a lion. Should you superficially look, 
and in the usual manner, with less acute- 
ness, you will see an erasure rather than a 
ligature ; and where nothing but subtility is 
found, you little regard the perfection of 
subtility. But, if you strain the eye to a 
more minute examination, and to a keen 
perception of the very secrets of art, so 
delicate and refined, so thin and firm, so 
interlaced and branchy, so vivid are the 
colours, that you may note intricate illustra 
tions : hence, you should be inclined to pro 
nounce these, not produced by human in 
dustry, but rather to regard them as angelic 
compositions. Sec cap. xxxviii., p. 123, 
of the treatise already cited. 

- The description, which Giraldus gives, 
regarding the appearance of this volume in 
his day, is a very interesting one, as recorded 
in his work, "Topographia Hibernuv, sive, 
De Mirabilibus Hiberniae." Distinctio 
Secunda, cap. xxxviii. See Camden s 
" Anglica, Normannica, Ilibernica, Cam- 
brica, a veteribus scripta, " p. 730. 



172 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



writers of Saint Brigid s Acts have the least mention about her having written 
" Revelations," although they record pretty generally, that she had frequent 
prophetic inspirations. 22 Hence, such a treatise must he regarded as spurious, 
if referred to the authorship of this holy woman. We may assume very fairly, 
that those " Twelve Books of Revelations ^ extant are rather attributable 
to St Brigid Queen of Sweden, than to any Irish or Scottish Saint, bearing 
a like name 2 * John Bale appears to have been the first author, who ascribes 
to our Irish St. Brigid the production in question. He tells us, those 
" Revelations" were contained in Twelve Books, in the first edition of his 
work although, he states, in the second edition, they were comprised in one 
book =s However Bale seems to have misconstrued the meaning of Giraldus, 
in his treatise on " The Wonders of Ireland. " Although this latter writer 
describes a book in relation to the concordance of the Four Gospels, accord- 
ins to St Jerome, as having been written for St. Brigid, by a scribe, and 
under the direction of an angel ; still, Cambrensis has no mention whatever, 
re^ardincr the holy abbess having composed a Book or Books of Revelations 
Other authors have followed Bale, in his statement. Eisengremus 26 and 
Antonio Possevino 2 ? are among these, while Gcsncr 23 and Dempsta 

The holy Patroness of Ireland is said to have written some tracts.3 The 
principal and best authenticated among these was a Rule, thought to have 
been composed by her, for the guidance of those female religious, who were 
members of her institute.* A poem, in the Irish language, on the Virtues 
of St Patrick," is attributed to her ; besides, a small treatise intituled,- 
The Quiver of Divine Love," ^ and an Epistle, in Irish, to St. Aid or 
Aidus son of De^il. In it she dissuades him from taking a journey. Colgan 



- " Nee defuit illi spiritus prophctice, quo 
multa futura veluti prcesentia indicabat. - 
" Officium S. Brigidce." Noct. sec. Lect. 
vi. Die I. Fehruarii. " Breviarium Ro- 
ra anum." Pars Hiemalis. Supplementum 
pro Clero Hibernico. 

2 3 A very curious and an early printed book, 
of an exceedingly small 410 shape, is inti 
tuled, Orationes devotissime et mill turn 
meritorie : sancte et preclarissime Brigitte 
vidue et passione Domini nostri Jesu Christ! : 
certisque orationibus et benedictionibus pre- 
stantissimis magnarumque indulgentiarum 
annexis." Under this title, there is a rude 
wood-cut representing St. Brigid, Queen of 
Sweden, kneeling before a crucifix. A short 
Latin Life, with an account of her Revela 
tions, follows. The prayers which succeed 
are in Latin, in black-letter, and in ancient 
type, with contractions. I find no date or 
colophon, indicating the year when printed, 
in a copy of this very rare work, kindly lent 
to me by its owner, Jasper Robert Joly, 
LL.D., whose private library contains so 
many unique literary rarities. 

=4 See John Lesley s work, " De Ongme 
Moribus, et Rebus Gestis Scotorum," lib. 
iv p. 149. Romse, M.D.LXXVIII, 410. 

2 5See Bale s " Scriptorum Illustrium 
Majoris Britannia? quern mine Angliam et 
Scotiam vocant, Catalogus." Cent, i., f. 
28, b. and Cent, xiv., cap. ii., edition, 
Basil, A.D. 1557. 

26 In "Catalogo Testmm Ventatis, p. 



49, b. 

"i In "Apparatus Sacer, tomus v., p. 
240. 

- 8 In his " Bibliotheca, sen Scriptorum 
Catalogus." 

=9 Dempster, in his " Historia Ecclesi- 
astica Gentis Scotorum," lib. ii., n. 144, 
when treating about St. Brigid, says, that 
Thomas Stabbes, a Dominican, and Richard 
Lauinbam, a Carmelite, about the year 1370, 
publicly expounded, at Oxford, the meaning 
of those Revelations. The aforesaid re 
nowned philosophers and theologians added 
commentaries and dissertations. Dempster, 
also, states, that Alanus de Limma, a Car 
melite, edited St. Brigid s Book of " Reve 
lations," about the year 1420. 

3 See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His 
tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, ix., sect, vi., 

n. 9S PP- 458, 459- 

v Benedictus Haeflenus, in Disquisition 
Monast., lib. i., tract 6, disquis. 3, declares 
such a multitude of nuns and nunneries to 
have been under St. Brigid s rule, that 
Joannes de Bruella orMauburnus, Abbot of 
Lioriancensis, in his " Venatorio Canoni- 
corum Regularium," did not hesitate to de 
signate our holy abbess, as presiding over 
13,000 nuns. 

3* It begins with " Denletha do Crich- 
Rois." 

33 Or sometimes called, " Quiver of Pious 
Desires," according to the English form of 
translation. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



had in his possession a copy of these latter tracts. 3 -* In addition, there were 
other works, falsely ascribed to her, as may be seen by referring to Harris 
Ware. 35 

L Brigid appears to have established different houses belonging to her 
order, in various parts of Ireland, after, if not before, the foundation of her 
nunnery at Kildare. Vet, it is no easy matter to determine the dates, when 
th.se several establishments were erected, owing to that loose and unchrono- 
lopcal manner, in which they are mentioned, throughout her different lives. 
The monasteries established by St. Brigid conferred great blessings on this 
country, by making accessible to the people the boon of religious education. 3 6 
We are informed, that her Rule was followed, for a long time, by the greatest 
part of those monasteries, belonging to sacred virgins in Ireland ; nearly all 
of these acknowledging our saint as their mother and mistress, and the 
monastery of Kildare as the headquarters of their Order. Moreover, 
Cogitosus informs us, in his prologue to her life, that not only did she rule 
nuns, but also a large community of men, who lived in a separate monastery. 
This obliged the saint to call to her aid, and from out his solitude, the holy 
bishop, S. Conlaeth, to be the director and spiritual father of her religious ; 
and. at the same time, to be bishop of the city. The church at Kildare, 
to suit the necessities of the double monastery and to accommodate the laity, 
was divided by partitions into three distinct parts. One of these was reserved 
for the monks ; one for the nuns ; while a third compartment was intended 
to suit the requirements of the laity. 3 ? 

A controversy had been carried on, between Fathers of the Order, 
designated Canons Regular of St. Augustine, and the Hermits of St. Augustine, 
commonly called Augustinians ; either party contending, that our saint 
derived her rule from, or that her order belonged to, a class of nuns, pro 
fessing adhesion to their respective religious institutes. Colgan would not 
undertake to decide this question, although he thinks it must be allowed, St. 
Brigid observed whatever rule St. Patrick introduced, and wished to be pro 
pagated, throughout Ireland ; for, we have already seen, that her vows were 
received, or that she was veiled, by Saints Mel or Maccaleus, the disciples of 
St. Patrick. 33 Again, we are told, that neither of the Augustinian institutes, 
already mentioned, had any existence, for some hundreds of years after St. 
Brigid s tune. Vet, as it is probable, her rule agreed in substance with special 
regulations, drawn by St. Augustine for those nuns, over whom his sister pre 
sided ; so, in a certain measure, possibly Brigid s Rule may have been modelled 
after the Augustinian prescriptions. 3 - 1 It has been remarked, by Colgan, as 
he could not pronounce St. Patrick having belonged either to the Hermit 
Fathers, or to the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, neither could he decide 
that St. Brigid embraced the rule of one order or the other. He thinks, 
however, St. Patrick must have adopted and introduced into Ireland the 
same Apostolic Rule, which St. Augustine observed, and which he propagated 
throughout Europe and Africa. It has been remarked, however, that although 



;4 See " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix the Saints," vol. ii., February 1st, pp. 17, 

Tertia ad Acta S. Brigidre, cap. ii., p. 610. 18. 

"See, vol. ii., "Writers of Ireland," r 3 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

hook i., chap, iii., p. 12, and nn. c, d, e, f, Vita Secunda S. Brigidre, cap. iii., p. 519. 

g, h, ibid. Vita Tertia S. Brigidrc, cap. xviii., p. 529. 

3^ Pastoral Letter of His Eminence Paul Quinta Vita S. Brigidte, cap. xxviii., xxix., 

Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, to pp. 573, 574. Sexta Vita S. Brigida?, sees, 

the Clergy of the Diocese of Dublin, on the xii., xiii., p. 584. 

Feast of St. Brigid. Dublin : January 25th, 39 See Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical His- 

1872, Svo. tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, ix., sect, vi., 

37 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of n. 94, p. 458. 



174 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



our saint presided over numerous holy communities of men and women, yet 
comparatively few of her disciples are mentioned by name. 

Like those holy ones mentioned in the Apocalypse,-* we learn from the 
different Acts of St. Brigid, already cited, that our saint assumed a white 
veil, while she wore a white cloak or dress. 41 These garments, likewise, 
must have been the distinguishing habit of her nuns. In vicv/ of such well- 

O O 

attested distinction, it seems unaccountable, that the Order of Brigitines, 
established in the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, during the present 
century, and assuming our holy abbess as their great patroness, should use 
a black dress, for a characteristic of their conventual life. 

The illustrious Patroness of Kildare gave a Rule to her nuns ; and thus, 
she is justly numbered among the founders of religious orders. 42 The Life 
of Ciaran of Clonmacnoise states, 43 that the Order of Brighit was one of the 
eight religious orders, that were in Erinn. 44 It is to be regretted, that we 
cannot now recover the Rules of this order, which doubtless must have been 
replete with wisdom. Various accounts, contained in former religious rules 
established in Ireland, are interesting, as serving to convey an idea of ancient 
conventual or monastic modes for living. 45 It is thought, even although St. 
Brigid might have embraced a Rule, existing before her time ; yet, it may 
have been altogether changed, or greatly modified, as she is believed to have 
written a special Rule 46 and to have established a particular institute for holy 
women in Ireland. 4 ? 

The poor and the destitute are the chosen friends of Christ. Our Divine 
Redeemer has declared, that He will accept and reward hereafter, as done 
unto Himself, whatsoever we do to the lowliest among them. St. Brigid 
saw the image of Christ reflected in every suffering waif of humanity. By 
charity, our Divine Lord wishes His disciples to be known, and He tells us, 
that at the last accounting day, He shall cast from among His children those, 
who, during life, refuse to hear the prayers of God s poor. The tender soul 
and compassionate disposition of our abbess were ever sympathetic to the 
cry of supplication or distress. Only her own spirit or the angel of God 
could record Brigid s many miracles. 48 Her Sixth Metrical Life contains an 
account, concerning these following miracles, not found related in the holy 
woman s other Lives. A shepherd boy, who had lost some sheep, or swine, 
belonging to his father, feared displeasure. He besought our saint to inter 
cede for him, and to obtain a pardon for his neglect. This she undertook 
to accomplish, and, in addition, she miraculously procured the restoration of 
that full number of animals, which had been missing. 4 ? While she prayed in 



40 See Apoc. iv., 4. Breac," contains a Rule of the Cele De or 

41 At the time of her religious reception Cnldees from Modruain. The xxii. vol. of 
or profession, it is stated, that the prelate O Longan MSS. in the R.I. A. contains 
who officiated " induit illam veste Candida three anonymous Quatrains, in the second 
et pallio albo." " Officium S. Brigidx-." of which there is a curious reference to the 
Noct. sec. lect. v. Die I. Februarii. habits of the Ceile TJe, or Culdee order, p. 
" Breviarium Romanum." Pars Hiemalis. 322. 

Supplemental!! pro Clero Hibernico. " 6 This is stated, in the Acts of St. Kiaran, 

4; See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s "Lives of Abbot of Clonmacnoise. 

the Saints," vol. ii., February ist, p. 17. 47 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

43 Chapter xlvii. is quoted. It is stated Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. 
in this Life " Prima regula fuit S. Patricii, x., p. 620. 

Secunda S. Brigidre, Tertia S. Brendani," 4b Such is a statement, lound in Professor 

&c. Vita S. Kierani Cluanensis, cap. xxvi. O Looney s Irish Life of St. Brigid, pp. 

44 See Drs. Todd s and Reeves "Mar- 47, 48. 

tyrology of Donegal," pp. 36, 37. 49 See the Bollandists "Acta Sancto- 

45 The large folio vellum MS. in the rum," tomus i., Februarii die i. Vita iii. 
R.I. A., No. 40, b, known as the " Leabhar S. Brigidae, cap. i., sec. 6, p. 142. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 175 



the church, at another time, a multitude of poor persons came to her asking 
for food. Among the rest, she saw a boy, who was deaf, dumb and lame. 
At a word, spoken by the compassionate virgin, he felt relieved from his 
three several privations, to the great admiration of a multitude present. 50 A 
woman, greatly prostrated with dropsy, besought the charity of our saint, to 
relieve her from this distressing infirmity. Drigid made a sign of the cross 
OUT her; the swelling immediately decreased, and the patient was restored 
to a ] jrfectly sound state of health. 51 

Like that peerless Mother of our Lord, to whom she has been compared, 
Brigid was beautiful with the beauty of Heaven and earth mingled together, 
with eyes sweet and dove-like, and with a countenance most soft and pure. 
She was both lovely to see, as well as perfect, in heart and in soul. 52 Nor 
did the lapse of years steal away any single grace or charm, for her heart and 
feelings were ever freshened with religious inspiration. The biographers of 
this illustrious saint are unmeasured in terms, used to describe her virtues 
and merits ; but, they do not exaggerate her praises, however they may dilate 
on various miracles, attributed to her powerful intercession. We are told, 
how this wondrous pearl of virginity neither deflected to the right or left, but 
always pursued a just and virtuous course. She never spoke without blushing, 
a sign of her great modesty. 5J She never yielded to carnal illusions ; for no 
person could be more chaste and continent. 54 She considered her prestige 
and virtues to have been gifts coming from Divine Providence. She examined 
her acquirements and merits, according to those severe judgments, pro 
nounced by a mind, filled with prudence and true faith ; while, she took little 
heed of popular applause or llattery. She considered ill-regulated public 
opinion and mere human praise, as tending only to produce vanity and 
selfishness, or as savouring of a worldly spirit. Her whole desires consisted 
in not appearing to be holy, while she aspired to the most exalted degree of 
sanctity. And, as lirigid ever willed a most perfect conformity to the decrees 
of Heaven, so did Divine mercy bestow on her countless treasures of grace; 
for, according to Holy Scripture, to every one possessing them shall yet be 
given, and they shall abound, while to those wanting them, what they seem 
to possess shall be taken away. 55 So excellent did lirigid appear in the sight 



-" See // /</., sec. 8. Nivem per tempestatem agitat ventus : 

51 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Glinndalachae sustinuit crucem ; 

Vita Sexta S. Brigidrc, sees, vi., viii., xxix., Ita ut repererit requiem post tribula- 

pp. vSj, S^S- Two additional miracles, for tiones." Sec. xi., ibid. 

which 1 do not find a corresponding autho 
rity, are thus related in Vita I rima S. Jki- Colgau observes, in a note, as St. Coemgen 
gidoj, sees, xiii., xlii., pp. 515, 516, 517, died A.I >. 617, according to the " Annals of 

the Four Masters," that it should follow, 
matters here related concerning him must 
have happened before his death. See n. 6, 
p. 518, ibid. 

s- See that most elegantly illuminated, 
exquisitely written, and devout narrative, 
by a gifted lady, intituled, "Prince and 
" Tradidit liquorem sen lae cuidam rustico, Saviour : the story of Jesus simply told for 
Quando erat nece.se, the Young," by Rosa Mulholland, pp. 13, 

Lt repertum est nee crescere 14- New and enlarged edition. Dublin : 

Nee quidquam diminui." M Glashan and Gill, 1876, I2rno. 

53 See Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 

In the same tract, we find the following St. Brigid, pp. 41, 42. 
lines, which do not admit of easy explana- 54 See ibid. This Life also remarks, that 

j.j on . she never washed her hands, or her feet, or 

her head in the presence of men. 
" Accesserat ad prtelium Coemginus Celebris 55 St. Matt, xxv., 29. 



Tern pore verno in curru vimmeo, 



Nihil diminuit de prosperitate hospitis, 




i 7 6 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



of God, that He was pleased to manifest her sanctity by the performance of 
most renowned miracles. 56 These are abundantly instanced, throughout her 
acts. Whenever liberality is hoped for, it will usually be fully tested ; and, 
an opinion of unrestricted and active charity must inevitably draw together 
needy and afflicted, towards benevolently-disposed persons. Hence, it 
happened, that so many poor and infirm individuals flocked to St. Brigid, 
not only from her own locality, but from most distant places. Those were 
allured by a report of her virtues and charities, while, the) hoped relief under 
privation from their various distresses. When our saint had satisfied the 
wants of one pauper, she was ready to perform a like charitable office for a 
petitioner succeeding ; while the same generous disposition was manifested 
towards all, without personal favour or exception. However her bounty had 
been extended to the whole flock, notwithstanding her charity was still 
moderated, according to various necessities ; she gave abundantly to those 
most in need, more restrictedly to those in middling circumstances, and a 
little was only distributed to those needing little. Yet, no gift of hers could 
be considered small, when her hands administered relief, and her warm heart 
became the prompter of her largesses. " Again, she was very humble, and 
she attended or was accustomed to the herding of sheep, as an occupation, 
and to early rising, 58 as conducive to health. This her life proves, and 
Cuimin of Coindeire states, in his poem, 5 ^ referring to her great perfections. 
She spent indeed many years, diligently serving the Lord, performing signs 
and miracles, curing every disease and sickness. Her vigils were incessant, 
and she watched over those subjects committed to her charge, with extra 
ordinary care and tenderness. Her numerous miracles are compared to the 
grass of the field, because it grows in such abundance, by one of her many 
eulogists. Those wonders, recorded in her various Acts, would seem to 
confirm such a statement. 60 She is specially ranked among the friends 61 and 



56 See " Brcviarium Romanum." Pars 
Hiemalis. Officia Propria Hibcrnioe Sanc 
torum, qu:e a Clero Hibernico recitantur. 
Die i. Februarii. Officium S. Brigidce. 
Noel. sec. led. vi. 

57 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Vila Quinta S. Brigidse, cap. xxxviii., liii., 
pp. 576, 580. In Ihe Latin version of Ihe 
Vila Prima S. Brigidoe, sees, v., vi., vii., 
p. 515) her panegyric is thus pronounced : 

" Xon erat cum hospitibus aspera : 

Benigne tractabat leprosos miseros, 
In campo extruxil suam civitalem, 
Posl obituin patrocinatur multitudini 
populorum. 

" Non erat armentaria montana : 
Nala esl in inedio campo ; 
Bona est scala populis, 
Ad intrandum in regnum filii Marine. 

Praclara erat congregatio Brigidse : 

Praeclarus concenlus Placentinus, quern 

canebat. 

Circa solum Christum erat solicita : 
Res ha?c erat competens advenien- 

tibus." 

^ "See Mac Firbiss List of Bishops Sees, 
&c., voce Cuil Corra." This jotling is in a 
nole, appended lo Ihis passage, in \Vm. M. 



Hennessy s copy of the Donegal Martyrology, 
most obligingly lent to the writer, by its 
learned owner. 

59 This begins with " Patrick of the fort 
of Macha loved," &c. Thus he says : 

" The blessed Brighit loved 
Constant piety, which was not pre 
scribed ; 

Sheep herding and early rising 
Hospitality towards men of virtues." 

60 See the "Martyrology of Donegal," 
at the 1st of February. Vita S. Brendani. 
St. Cumineus of Conor, in his poem, " On 
the Characteristic Virtues of Irish Saints," 
as translated into English, says : 

" Bridget of the benedictions loved 
Perpetual mollification beyond woman 
hood. 

Watching and early rising, 
Hospitalily to saintly men/ 

See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. " Ap 
pendix Quartaad Acla S. Brigidse, cap. xii., 
p. 622, and Rev. Dr. Kelly s " Calendar of 
Irish Saints," p. 161. A somewhat different 
Latin translation is given for the foregoing 
lines, by Colgan, at p. 606 of "Trias Thau 
maturga." 

61 See " Breviarium Romanum." Pars 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 1?7 



disciples* of our great Irish Apostle, St. Patrick; and, among his numerous 
5 daughters, not one was more distinguished for great force of 
:er, for high intellectual accomplishments, and for sublime spiritual 
guts. 



C II A P T E R X I V. 

VISION OF ST. BRIGID REGARDING HER APPROACHING DEATH HER PREPARATION 
ISTERS THE LAST SACRAMENTS TO HER THE YEAR AND DAY 

OF ST. BRIGID S DEPARTURE-THE PLACE WHERE IT OCCURRED KILDARE AND 
IIS RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS ST. BKIGII/S SHRINE AND RELICS-HONOUR PAID 
TO HER MEMORY. 

WE are informed, St. Brigid had a revelation, four years before her death 

time for her departure out of this world was approaching, and that 

she also had a prophetic knowledge, respecting the place of her resurrection. 1 

This intuition was to her a source of joy. She had now attained a venerable 

Accordingly, she prepared for her approaching end, by redoubling 

avers, watchings, fastings and charities. Although her remote preparation 
for death had commenced, at a very early period, by the practice of virtue 
; ; yet, towards the close of life, as if all she had hitherto done 
were of no account, in her estimation, she became devoted almost uninter 
ruptedly to heavenly aspirations and contemplation. To her mind and to her 
memory, often recurred this thought, that a life-time spent in pious preparation 
gave a suitable guarantee for a holy death. She endeavoured to watch care 
fully, during her journey through life, that she might not be confounded by her 
spiritual enemies, when touching the portals of death. Nor was her solicitude 
confined to her own spiritual interests. Being bound to render an account for 
those religious females entrusted to her charge, she was vigilant in her official 
position. This was manifested, by her unceasing solicitude and through her 
frequent exhortations. Her prayers had a retrospective and a prospective 
aim, on behalf of those dear sisters, who were to remain behind in this world 
of pilgrimage. While in the flesh, she loved them, not according to the 
maxims or practice of worldlings, but in a religious and holy spirit.3 

Having regulated the religious state of her city and nunnery, as also of 
various establishments, subject to her rule, throughout Ireland;* we are 
told, in her Fourth Life, that she expressed to her sisters a desire to visit 
before death the sepulchre and relics of her holy patron, Archbishop 
Patrick. Brigid knew, also, it relates, that she should not return alive to the 



Hicmalis. Officia Propria Ilibernirc Sane- Also, Vita Quarta S. Brigids;, lib. ii., cap. 
torum, quoe a Clero Hibernico recitantur. xcviii., xcix., p. 562, ibid. 
Die I. Februarii. Officium S. Brigid;).-. * From the words of her Fourth Life, 
Noct sec. lect. vi: Cc!gan infers, that St. Brigid wrote a special 
= See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." rule and founded a particular institute for 
Quinta Appendix ad Acta S. Patricii, cap. holy women ; otherwise, he does not think 
xxiii., p. 269. Yet, only in a mediate or it likely, that various houses could be re- 
remote sense must we regard her, as having presented, as being subject to her care, 
been one of those virgins, veiled by St. This position he endeavours to establish, by 
Patrick. citing various authorities. See ibid., Ap- 

CHAPTER xiv. See "The Life of St. pcndix Tertia ad Acta S. Brigidrc, cap. ii., 

Brigid," by an Irish Priest, chap, x., p. p. 610. And, Vita Quarta S. Brigidce, n. 

I 33- 23, p. 566. See, also, the Bollandists " Acta 

; See Bishop Challoncr s "Britannia Sanctorum," tomus i. Die i. Februarii. 

Sancta," part i., February 1st, p. 94. Vita iv. S. Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. xii., sect. 

3 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Si, p. 171. 
Vita Quinta S. Brigidte, cap. Ivi., p. 581. 

N 



i 7 S LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



usual city of her residence. It is said, St. Patrick, at the time of his death, 
had commanded our saint to bless all Ireland, thirty years afterwards, and 
that in consequence of this desire, she now made a tour over the whole 
island, blessing every part of it.s Having arrived in the province of the 
Ultonians, 6 in the northern part of Ireland, she was there seized, it is stated, 
with her last illness. It is generally believed, that she died thirty years after 
the departure of St. Patrick.? 

St. Conleath, Bishop of Kildare, departed this life on the 3rd of May, 
519 ; 8 and, St. Brigid did not long survive him. 9 She was already descending 
the vale of years, and infirmity began to grow upon her ; although, we are not 
given to understand, what had been the nature of that sickness, which caused 
her death. At its approach, however, she had a conference with one of her 
nuns, named Darlugdacha, to whom she confided a charge over her com 
munity, after the event of her own expected departure. 10 St. Bridget also 
declared her successor should survive only one year, and depart this life on 
the ist of February ; so that thus, both their names should be venerated, on 
this same day. 11 Therefore, as they were united in affection during life, in 
like measure, after death, their memories were conjointly held in honour. It 
would seem beyond the power of tongue or pen. to describe the wonders of 
Brigid s daily existence. Many miracles and incidents already recorded, 
concerning this holy abbess, and several not mentioned in this her life, will 
be found in the Acts of various other Irish saints. 12 

She was now about to cease from her toils and to enjoy everlasting rest ; 
but, whether decay or decrepitude, awaited her closing years, seems to be alto 
gether unknown.^ When the last day of our most illustrious and holy virgin 
in this life had approached, and after a long pilgrimage, Brigid was beckoned 
to her reward. Then, while sailing on the British sea, 1 * by force of the wands, 
or rather by God s providence, St. Ninnid was wafted to the Irish coast. l = 



5 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La Life, by St. Evin (pars iii., cap. 4, 6), Life 
Santita Prodigiosa." Vita cli S. Brigida of St. Moninna or Moduenna (cap. 3), Cap- 
Ibernese. Libro Sesto, pp. 583, 584. grave s Life of the same Saint (cap. 14), Life 

6 This is Latinized Ultonia and Ulidia. of St. Albeus, Cod. Kilk. (cap. 23), another 
In Irish it is written UlcA, ULuAig, and Life of the same Saint (cap. 18, 19), Life of 
llL<Mt). St. Finnian of Clonard (cap. 15), Life of St. 

7 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Tighernach (cap. 2, 10), O Donnell s Life of 
Quarta Vita S. Brigidse, lib. ii., cap. xcix., St. Columkille (lib. i., cap. 9),^ Supplement 
p 1-52. to the Life of St. Kieran of Clonmacnoise 

* The Annales Ultonienses record, at A. i>. (cap. 26), Life of St. Gildas (cap. 9), Life of 

519, the death of Conlaed, Bishop of Cille St. Brendan, Cod. Kilk. (cap. 50), Life of 

dara, p. 13. See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum St. Aid, bishop (cap. 16, 20), Life of St. 

Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus ii. Maidoc (cap. 62), Life of St. Moling (cap. 

9 See "The Lite of St. Brigid," by an 22), Life of St. Kieran, of Saigir (cap. 30), 
Irish Priest, chap, x., p. 134. Life of St. Kieran, of Clonmacnoise (cap. 

10 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s " La i., 47), Life of St. Columba (cap. 4, 5, 66, 
Santita Prodigiosa." Vita di S. Brigida 241), Life of St. Moelruan (cap. 42), Life 
Ibernese. Libro Sesto, pp. 559 to 561. of St. Corbmac (cap. 9), Life of St. Fintan, 

11 See Colgan s " Acta Sanctorum Hi- hermit (i 5th Nov.) See " Trias Thauma- 
berniee," Februarii I. Vita S. Derlugdachte, turga," sees. i. to xxii., pp. 602 to 606. 

p. 230. Also, the Acts of St. Derlugdacha ^ See " The Life of St. Brigid," by an 

hereafter subjoined, and on the 1st of Febru- Irish Priest, chap, x., pp. 133, 134. 

arv I4 In Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 

" These are introduced by Colgan in his St. Brigid flin-oex> IAHVI it>An, i.e., " Nin- 

" Appendix Secunda, sen Supplementum didh of the undefiled hand," is said to have 

Actorum S. Brigidce, ex aliorum Sanctorum come from Rome of Letha, pp. 47, 48. 

vitis fcaliishystoriis." He quotes the Fourth I5 See Abbate D. Giacomo Certani s "La 

Life of St. Patrick, by St. Eleran, the sup- Santita Prodigiosa." Vita di S. Brigida 

posed author (cap. 94), the Sixth, by Jocelin Ibernese. Libro Sesto, pp. 584 to 566. 
(cap. 94, 95, 188, 189). The Tripartite 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



179 



Afterwards a large fish was caught, and brought to him. When it had been 
cut up into parts, according to the legend of his life, that key belonging to 
the leek of his manacled hand was found within its body. Finding all these 
events to have happened by Divine appointment, with sorrow of heart the 
pious Ninnidius said : " It is not meet, that a mortal should any longer 
oppose designs of the living God, and of Omnipotent power." Hearin^ 
about St. Brigid s infirmity, he went to visit her ; and, at the hour of her 
she had already predicted, the Body and Blood of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal God, she received from the undefiled hand 
of holy Ninnidius. 16 

There are many different opinions of writers, as to St. Brigid s exact age, 
at. the time of her demise. Henry of Marlborough 7 tells us, that she Aas 
born A.D. 468, and that she died on the ist of February, A.D. 523. Conse 
quently, she could only have been fifty-five years old, at her decease. But, 
no other writer sets her age down at less than seventy years, when she died. lS 
Ihis latter seems to be the most generally received opinion. Our Martyro- 
logies s and Annals 20 concur. The seventy-first 21 and the seventy-fourth year 
for her death-period have been stated. Thus, the " Martyrology of Donegal" 22 
has noticed, that she yielded her spirit, after having completed seventy-four 
years, A.D. S 2 5-~ 3 The author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life has regarded her 
death, as occurring, thirty years after that of St. Patrick, 2 * and in the eightieth 
year ot her age. 2 ^ Colgan, too, thinks this probable, on account of the latter 
authority being so ancient and so respectable. She is even conjectured 
but without correctness to have attained her eighty-seventh year. 26 



16 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Quarta Vita S. Brigidae, lib. li., cap. Ixiii., 
P- 559- Also, Quinta Vita S. Bri< idC. cap. 

.... o o 

Ivm., p. 582. 

17 In his Annals. This, however, is not 
to be found in his "Chronicle of Ireland," 
published in 1809 at Dublin, by the Iliber- 
nia Pros Company. 

lr This is the opinion of Usshcr in his 
" Primordia Ecclesiarum Britannicarum," 
cap. xvii., p. 884, and in his "Index 
Chronologicus," A.D. 523, as also of Sir 
James Ware, " De Scriptoribus Ilibernia?," 
lib. i., cap. ii., p. 9. 

13 The "Martyrology of Tallagli," com 
piled by St. /Engus and St. Maelruan, in 
the ninth century, has this record: " Ca- 
lendis Februarii. Dormitio S. Brigidcc, 
Ixx., anno cetatis SU.TE." See Rev. Dr. 
Kelly s edition, p. xiv. 

- The Annals of Ulster, or of Senat Mac 
Mognus, cited by Ussher, agree, where at 
A.D. 523, we read: " Quies S. Brigidte 
anno Ixx. tetatis sure." This is also Colgan s 
own opinion. See Annales Ultonienses, 
p. 3. Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv. 

21 According to the computation of Friar 
Clyn, that she was born A.D. 439, and of 
Hanmer, that she died A.D. 510, she must 
have departed in her seventy-lirst year. 

22 See Rev. Drs. Todd s and Reeves edi 
tion, pp. 36, 37. 

23 In a comment, Dr. Todd adds at this 
date, A.D. 525 : " The more recent hand has 
corrected this date to 522, adding in the 
margin, this note : ex ii. binario numero 



fecit quinariam literam transcriptoris error ; 
i.e., the transcriber mistook dxxii. for 
dxxu." 

-* This story, about such a term of years 
intervening between the deaths of the two 
saints, has been taken from that spurious 
tract, called St. Patrick s Testament, in 
which we find the favourite division of our 
Apostle s years into thirties. To these was 
added another thirty, at the end of which 
St. Brigid was to bless Ireland. Hence, it 
got into ,hc Fourth Life of St. Brigid, and 
it became popular. Marianas Scotus, hav 
ing assigned St. Patrick s death to A.D. 491, 
placed, agreeably to this supposition, that of 
St. Brigid in 521 ; while, the sticklers for 
A.D. 493, following the same principle, fixed 
it at A. D. 523. One of these was Bollandus, 
when commenting on the Acts of St. Brigid ; 
but, his successors, Henschennius and Pape- 
brochius, rejected these thirty years, and 
made out another calculation. This, however, 
cannot be admitted ; for, in their observations 
on ot. Patrick s Acts, they assign St. Brigid s 
departure to A.D. 506 or 517. See Dr. 
Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical History of Ire 
land," vol. i., chap, ix., sec. vi., n. 87, p. 
457- 

- 5 For this statement, there appears to be 
little probability. Yet, an Irish Life of St. 
Brigid concurs in the previous calculations. 

20 At the year 523, we find entered in 
William M. Hennessy s "Chronicum Sco- 
torum," the Dormition of St. Brigid in the 
87th year of her age, or fjth as some assert, 
pp. 40, 41. 



iSo 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



The year or epoch of St. Brigid s death has been variedly calculated or 
recorded. Thus the " Annals of Boyle" have it so early as A.D. 504.^ Dr. 
Meredith Hanmer says her death occurred, A.D. 5io. 2S The rest of St. Brigid 
is noted at 514, in the Annals of Innisfallen. 2 ? Other authorities place it, at 
A.D. 518.3 PYom a calculation which he makes, as to the year of St. Patrick s 
death, being 458, and St. Brigid s decease taking place sixty years afterwards, 
Nennius would consequently assign her departure, to the year 5i8. 31 Again, 
the year 520 has been mentioned. 32 The year 521 is set down by certain 
writers. 33 The year 523, however, is a very generally accepted date for her 
demise. 3 * Thus, Colgan endeavours to show by various authorities, compu 
tations and inferences, that A.D. 523, was the true date for her death. 35 These 
dates, A.D. 506 and 517, appear to have been given, from a supposition, that 
St. Brigid survived St. Patrick exactly thirty years ;^ 6 and, as the year of the 
Irish Apostle s death has been disputed, in like manner, differences as to com 
puted dates for St. Brigid s have consequently occurred. 3 ? The year 523 or 524 
is entered in the - Annals of Ulster." 38 These, also, go by the title, "Annals 
of Senat-mac-Magnus," and are cited by Ussher. 3 ? Moreover, the " Annals 



-7 See " Annales Buelliani," or " Annals 
of Boyle." Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiber- 
nicarum Scriptores, " tomus ii., p. 3. 

28 See "Chronicle of Ireland," p. 91. 
Still Colgan thinks, the year 518 should 
have been inserted in Hanmer s work, but 
for a casual error. 

29 See Dr. O Conor s " Rerum Hiberni- 
carum Scriptores," tomus ii., p. 5. 

3 Thus, Sigbert in his "Chronology," 
Felix in his " Martyrology," at 1st February, 
John Capgrave in his "Vita S. Brigidre," cap. 
ult., Giraldus Cambrensis, in " Topographia 
Hibernica," dist. iii. , cap. 17, "Annales 
Vawerliensis," &c., date her demise. 

3 1 Yet, Dr. Lanigan does not consider 458 
to have been the true date for St. Patrick s 
death ; and, as the antecedent is false, so 
must be the consequent, viz., that St. Brigid 
died A.D. 518. See "Ecclesiastical History 
of Ireland," vol. i. , chap, ix., sec. vi., and 
n. 84, pp. 455> 457- 

3 2 The " Chronicon Rudimentum Novi- 
tiorum," at A.D. 520, has noted St. Brigid s 
death. It states, during the second year of 
the Emperor Justin, that our saint died in 
Scotia, being born there, and of noble pa 
rents. 

33 Thus, Marianus Scotus, Florence of 
Worcester, Baronius, Masseus, Spondanus, 
Gordon, Rosweyde, Mirfeus, Ware. The 
"Annales Cambrice," edited by Rev. John 
Williams ab Ithel, concur, p. 3. 

34 Ussher, Colgan and Bollandus prefer it. 
See, also, Rev. Thomas Innes " Civil and 
Ecclesiastical History of Scotland," book ii., 
p. 128. 

35 He prefers this, for various reasons. 
First, Henry of Marlborough, Ussher, Ware, 
&c., are of accord regarding it. And, St. 
Brigid lived thirty years after St. Patrick s 
death ; accordingly, St. Patrick, dying in 
591 but as Colgan thinks 593 was the true 
year of his decease this latter conclusion 
should place the death of St. Brigid at A.D. 



523. Secondly, According to different au 
thorities, St. Columkille was born four years 
before St. Brigid s death. As the former is 
said to have died on the gth of June, A. D. 
596, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, 
and as he is related to have been born on 
the 7th of December, St. Columba s nativity 
must have been cast about the end of A.D. 
519. The fourth year after such a date would 
be A.D. 523, and consequently that assigned 
for St. Brigid s death. Thirdly, According 
to certain Irish tracts, St. Brigid was veiled 
and died on Wednesday ; while, all autho 
rities agree, she departed this life on the 1st 
of February. Now, if we admit her being 
contemporaneous with the Emperor Justin, 
Pope Hormisdas and Murchertach, King of 
Ireland, the 1st of February fell on Wednes 
day, in the year 523. The hymn in praise 
of St. Brigid, composed by St. Brogan 
Cloen, must have been written in this case 
soon after her death ; for, Alild, son of 
Dunlang, reigned in Leinster, when it was 
written. This prince died A.D. 526. See 
" Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix Qu.irta 
ad Acta S. Brigidas, cap. vii., p. 619. The 
learned Dr. 6 Conor also agrees in this 
opinion with Colgan, in his edition of the 
"Annals of Ulster," n. 3, p. 13. " Rerum 
Hibernicarum Scriptores," tomus iv. 

s 6 Thus, Tillemont justly remarks, that 
Henschennius and Papebrochius have not 
adduced any weighty proof for these dates. 
See " Memoires pour servir a 1 Histoirc 
Ecclesiastique," tome xvi., p. 470. 

s? See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His 
tory of Ireland," vol. i., chap, viii., sec. ii., 
n. 25, pp. 382, 383, chap, ix., sec. vi., n. 
87, p. 457. 

3 8 See Dr. O Conor s "Rerum Hiberni 
carum Scriptores," tomus iv., p. 3. At A.D. 
523 is noted, likewise, the " Bellum Cainri 



. 

39 See " De Primordia Britannicarum EC- 
clesiarum," cap. xvii., p. 884. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



of the Four Masters," quoting some other old chronicles, and the "Annals of 
lster, ; referring to more ancient authorities, have A.D. 525 < Ussher 

observes, that some books referred to in the Ulster Annals mark St. Braid s 
death, as occurring at 525, which date has been followed by the Four Masters. 

This latter year seems to agree best, with what Nennius relates, regarding St 
Columkille s birth, which took place four years before St. Brigid s departure * 

I he "Annals of Ulster," citing the book of Mochod, again give A.D. 527 
latest mentioned date is omitted in Colgan, but instead of it, he pro 
duces the same authority, noticing " Dormitio S. Brigida; secundum codicum 
monachorum," A.D. 528. The original authority seems to have been identical, 
in both the latter instances, with the difference of a date, in distinct copies. 

The English Martyrology, at the ist of February, has A.D. 540. The author 
of St. Brigid s Fourth Life enters A.D. 548, as Colgan thinks, through a copyist s 
error, and from the mention of contemporaneous persons. With the angels, 
present at her couch, and waiting to bear her soul to Paradise, the holy 
abbess was prepared for her final summons.* 2 She earnestly desired to receive 
the sacraments for the dying. Finding her final hour fast approaching, Holy 
Viaticum" was administered to her by an attendant priest, named Nennidh,** 
who appears to have been attached to the service of her nunnery.*s He be 
longed probably to the clergy residing at Kildare.* 6 Muriertach Mac Ere,*? 
King of Ireland, then lived at Tara, as the Fourth Life states. Irish historians 
state this monarch to have died in the year 527, after a reign of twenty-four 
years. 43 He was succeeded in the sovereignly of Ireland by Tuathal Mael- 
garbh, who was slain after a reign of eleven years in the year 538. St. 
Urigid s death took place, it is noted, during the first year of the Emperor 
Justinian s reign. 4 ? Hormisdas is said to have been Pope at the time, and 
he sat in the chair of St. Peter, from A.D. 514 to A.D. 523,2 when he died.s 1 



4<J See Dr. O Donovan s " Annals of the 582. Cjuarta Vita S. Brigidac, lib. ii., cap. 
Four Masters," vol. i., pp. 170 to 173. Ixiii., p. 559. 

1 See " Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Anti- 4 J See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical His- 

quitates," cap. xvii., p. 467. tory cf Ireland," vol. i., chap, ix., sec. vi., 

4 Applicable to the calm tranquillity of n. 82, p. 456. 

that departure are these lines by the Rev. 4 ? Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the Four 

M. J. Mac Hale intituled, "By the Bedside," Masters," vol. i., pp. 17410 177, 180, 181. 

as found in "The Illustrated Monitor," vol. 48 A very curious account, regarding this 

ii. , .No. 30. p. 70 : monarch and his family connexions, will be 

" Swiftly, swiftly no\v the soul is flying, found in " The Irish Version of the Historia 

Dying, dying, Britonum of Nennius," edited by Rev. Dr. 

Are the words the watchers speak, James Henthorn Todd, and the Hon. Alger- 

While the shade of death is shading non Herbert, pp. 178 to 193, with accom- 

All the patient face, and fading panying notes. 

All the rose-tints from the cheek. 4 Justinian began his reign in the year 

Vet, there comes no sound of wailing, 527, according to Baronius, and most other 

No blinding burst of hopeless grief; authors. Colgan thinks rather the name of 

The soul is calm, if strength be failing, Justin, who began to reign in 518, should 

The Lord Himself hath sent relief." be substituted for that of Justinian. See 

43 See Rev. M. J. Brenan s " Ecclesi- : Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Quarta S. 
astical History of Ireland." Fifth Century, Brigidae, lib. ii., cap. xcix., p. 562. 

chap. Hi., p. 51. 5 Yet, in William M. Hcnnessy s" Chroni- 

44 See Res . 1 . J. C arew s " Ecclesiastical cum Scotorum" his death is placed at A.D. 
History of Ireland," chap, vi., p. 241. 520. This, however, is corrected in a. note 

45 He is called simply vir and scicerdos in by O Flaherty to A.D. 523, and his death is 
the Fifth Life of St. Brigid, without any assigned to the 6th of August. See pp. 40, 
allusion to his having embraced the monastic 41, and n. 4, ibid. 

profession. In the Fourth Life of our Saint, - 1 Wherefore, if St. Brigid departed during 

it is said, he went to Britain, while another his time, she must have died, rather during 

account tells us he journeyed to Rome. See the first year of the Emperor Justin s reign, 

Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Quinta A.D. 518, than during the first year of the 

Vita S. Brigidte," cap. Ivii., Iviii., pp. 581, Emperor Justinian s rule, A.D. 527. 



132 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



It has been stated, likewise, that twice six Sovereign Pontiffs of Rome lived 
contemporaneously with St. Brigid. 52 This statement, however, does not 
seem to accord with exact chronology. 53 An attempt to correct it hardly 
adjusts the inaccuracy. 54 It is possible, and even probable, St. Brigid lived 
in the time of eight successive Popes, supposing her to have died A.D. 518 
or 523, and in the seventieth year of her age. 55 The Fourth Life of St. 
Brigid unpardonably asserts, that the holy abbess died A.D. 548. This date, 
if not the error of a scribe, defers her death to nearly the middle of the sixth 
century. 

Nearly all the holy woman s Acts are concurrent, that the illustrious 
Patroness of Ireland departed this life on the ist of February. 56 It is an 
honoured day in the Irish Church. 5 ? After having obtained a glorious victory, 
over the powers of darkness and the illusions of this world, she now reigns 
eternally and conspicuously among the celestial choirs of Heavenly Jerusalem, 
with the Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles, Martyrs, and spotless Virgins, 
with the An<rels and Archangels of God. 58 Crowned with a diadem of effulgent 



52 It is set down in these lines : 

" Illis temporibus bis senos legimus esse 

Pontifices summos Roma viventc puella," 
See Sexta Vita S. Brigidae, sec. Ivi., p. 594. 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. " 

53 See Berti s " Ecclesiastic* Historic 
Breviarium," pars i. Quintum Ecclesice 
Seculum, cap. i., pp. 131, 132. Sextum 
Ecclesiae Seculum, cap. i. , pp. 149, 150. 

54 Instead of the words " bis senos," Col- 
gan thinks we should read, "Bis ternos 
Pontifices." For, he says, St. Brigid died in 
the seventieth year uf her age, according to 
authorities, cited in the Fourth Appendix to 
her Acts (cap. vii.), or in the eightieth year 
of her age, according to her Fourth Life 
(lib. ii. , cap. xcix. ), and other authorities; 
which latter tract Colgan thinks the author 
of her Metrical or Sixth Life followed. Ac 
cording to the author of her Fourth Life 
and others, she died in the time of Pope 
Hormisdas, and in the first year of the 
Emperor Justin s reign (A.D. 518) ; or more 
truly, perhaps, in A.D. 523, as Colgan en 
deavours to show, in the Fourth Appendix 
to our Saint s Acts. See " Trias Thauma 
turga." Sexta Vita S. Brigiclre, n. 15, p. 
598. Also, Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. 
Brigidre, cap. vii., p. 619. 

55 If it be supposed, that she died in the 
seventieth year of her age and A.D. $18, St. 
Brigid must have been born, about the year 
of Christ 449. If she died in the seventieth 
year of her age, and A.D. 523, she should 
have come into this world, about the year 
454. In either case, she must have been 
born during the Pontificate of St. Leo the 
Great. But, from this latter Pontiff to the 
dates 518 or 523, while Hormisdas was 
Pope, including both of these Sovereign 
Pontiffs, in the chair of St. Peter sat Leo, 
Hilary, Simplicius, Felix, Gelasius, Ana- 
stasius, Symmachus, and Hormisdas eight 
in all ; not including the Anti-pope Laurence, 
who nourished A. D. 498. But, if we suppose 



St. Brigid to have died in the eightieth year 
of her age, and of Christ 518, as the authors 
of her Fourth and Sixth Lives seem to indi 
cate, she must have been born, about A.D. 
439, during the Pontificate of St. Sixtus III. 
This Pontiff sat in the chair of St. Peter, from 
432 to 440. If we join the latter to the other 
eight, already enumerated, we shall have the 
number thrice three or nine Pontiffs, reign 
ing, during St. Brigid s life-time ; and fol 
lowing the last computation. Colgan thinks 
the emendation he makes must represent 
the true meaning of the author who com 
posed her Sixth Life. He followed the 
writer of the Fourth Life. If this latter 
were Animosus work, it is indicated as hav 
ing been read in the Metrical Prologue. See 
ibid., n. 15, p. 598. 

56 See the various offices of our saint. The 
Roman Breviary of, 1522, Petrus de Natali- 
bus, and " Chronica Generalis Mundi," 
state, that St. Brigid flourished during the 
Emperor Justin s rule. See "The Life of 
St. Brigid," by an Irish Priest, chap, x., p. 

133- 

s? " Decessit autem venerabilis Brigida 
prima die mensis Februarii, sure benignitatis 
& misericordiarum remunerationem in per- 
petuum possidens Deum : Qui in imitate 
trinus, unus in trinitate, vivit & gaudet & 
gloriatur, ipse quidem vita gaudium & gloria 
sanctorum omnium, per omnia scecula saecu- 
lorum. Amen." Quinta Vita S. Brigidse, 
cap. Ivii., Iviii., pp. 581, 582. Colgan s 
" Trias Thaumaturga." This great feast of 
St. Brigid appears from remote times to 
have been celebrated with solemn public 
services and panegyrics in the ancient Irish 
churches. See Professor O Looney s Irish 
Life of St. Brigid, pp. i to 4, 49, 50. 

s 8 After having given the day of our saint s 
death, at February i., Cogitosus concludes 
his Acts, in the following sentences : " Ve- 
niam peto a fratribus et lectoribus qui causa 
obedentise coactus,nullapr?erogativa scientias 
suffultus, pelagus immensum virtutum S. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 183 



glory, and rejoicing in the possession of those eternal rewards, she had so 
richly merited after her departure from earth ; she beholds for ever the in 
effable presence of the Godhead, unceasingly and effectually interceding for 
her favoured island, and for her devout clients, with the Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, world without end. 5 ^ 

An Irish Life of St. Brigid, and also the Annals of Roscrea, " state, that 
this holy woman died on a Wednesday. It has been remarked/ that the 
circumstance of our saint s decease occurring on such a day, if true, should 
bring her death in all probability into A.D. 523. The ist of February fell on 
that day, during this year. 61 It has been added, that St. Brigid took the 
veil, also, on a Wednesday, and building on this notation, which Ussher was 
either ignorant of, or overlooked, Colgan argues, that the death of our pious 
abbess cannot be applied to any year, later than 523. This, however, rests 
on a passage, 62 not very trustworthy, as found in the Fourth Life of St. 
Brigid. 03 Yet, Dr. Lanigan doubts the accuracy of this relation, which 
appears to have been an imitation of certain presumed coincidences in St. 
Patrick s Life and in her own Acts. Lie thinks A.D. 525, a still more pro 
bable date for her death, than 523 ; which latter year, however, he says is 
the only one that can stand any competition with it. But, between both 
these dates, he leaves the reader free to form an opinion. Any other dates 
proposed, he deems not worthy of serious consideration. 6 * 

The place, whence our holy abbess departed to her true country and 
home, has been diversely represented. 65 Lspecially towards the closing years 
of her life, Kildare was the permanent place for her residence, and the almost 
unanimous echo of tradition declares it to have witnessed her exit from this 
world. Our historic records furnish sufficient evidence in attestation. Not 
withstanding a contrary assertion, hazarded by the author of St. Brigid s Fourth 
Life, that she died in the northern province ; this mooted question hardly 
admits of controversy. 66 Such a statement, regarding her first interment at 



Brigida 1 , ct viris fortissimis formidandum, See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." Vita 

his paucis rustico sermone dictis virtutilms Ouarta S. BrigicUx-, lib. ii., cap. 99. p. 562. 

de maximis ct innumerabilibus cucurrerim. 4 See, Dr. Lanigan s " Ecclesiastical His- 

Orate pro me Cogitoso ncpote culpabili ct tory of Ireland, vol. i., chap, ix., sec. vi., 

ut oratione vcstra pio Domino me commcn- and nn. 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 

delis exoro, ct Deus vo> pacem Kvangelicam 91, pp. 454 to 458. 

sectantcs, exaudial." Sec Colgan s " Trias 5 No reliance is to be placed upon Mere- 

Thaumaturga." Secunda Vila S. Brigid;e, dith Hanmer s statement regarding St. 

cap. xxxvi. , p. 524. See, also, Messing- Brigid, that " about the year 524 she was 

ham s " Florilegium Insuke Sanctorum." translated from the Hebrides into Dune, 

53 Sec, Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." and restelh by Saint Patrick s side, as for- 

Vita Secunda S. Brigidip, cap. xxxvi., p. merly hath beene declared in his Life. Ire- 

524. Vita Tertia S. Brigidce, cap. cxxxi., land hath given her this epitaph : 
p. 542. Vita Quarta S. Brigida , lib. ii., 

cap. c., p. 563. Vita Quinta S. Brigida , " Flos patrise pietatis amans, virtutis alum- 
cap. Iviii., p. 582. na, 

" By Dr. Lanigan. Sidus Ilibernorum, Brigida Virgo fuit. 

61 See "Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 

vol. i., chap, ix., sec. vi., n. 88, p. 457. See, "Chronicle of Ireland," p. 91. 

"\Vefindinitnothingbutconfusion. St. "According to Colgan, it is probable, 

Brigid s death is said, also, to have occurred, the bodies of these saints were not together 

during the reign of Justinian, and in the year in Down, previous to A.D. 823. Hence, he 

548. These periods are very different from infers, that neither St. Brogan, nephew to 

that epoch of Hormisdas. See Ussher, " De St. Patrick, on the sister s side, nor St. 

Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Primordiis," cap. Columkille, who died in 597, nor St. Ultan, 

xvii., p. 884. who departed A.D. 656, nor St. Aileran, the 

"3 There we are told, she died during the Wise, who died in 664, could have been the 

Pontificateof Pope Hormisdas, and therefore author of St. Brigid s Fourth Life, for rea- 

prior to the month of August in said year. sons which ne assigns. 



1 84 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Downpatrick, appears to have been falsely based, on a subsequent opinion 
about her remains being there, with those of St. Patrick and St. Columkille. 
It must have been entertained, only at a comparatively recent date. Hence, 
originated the account, presented by the author of her Fourth Life, 6 ? that she 
died at Downpatrick, or in its immediate neighbourhood. 63 

As in the time of Crimthann, Dunlaing and Illand, so under successive 
princes of Leinster, Kildare continued to enjoy ecclesiastical immunities, and 
to rejoice in a repetition of ecclesiastical endowments. ^ To the beginning 
of the ninth century, it was in an exceedingly flourishing condition. After 
this period, war, rapine, fare, and violence, stain the annals of Kildare ; 7 yet, 
learning and sanctity were not wholly banished from its cloisters, to the 




The Grey Abbey, Kildare. 

period of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Even after stranger lords took 
possession of the city and its appurtenances, two fine religious foundations 



6 ? Colgan thinks it highly probable, that 
Animosus was the author of this Life, rather 
than any other anonymous writer, among 
the many, who are said to have attempted 
St. Brigid s Acts, especially when some cir 
cumstances seem to favour the inference, 
while no good reason establishes a contrary 
conclusion. According to what Colgan him 
self supposes, the incidents of name, time 
and place should tell in favour of Animosus 
or Anmichod, as being the author, and that 
he lived after A.D. 823, and before 1097. 
Colgan has not been able to detect any date, 
for drawing a different conclusion. See 
"Trias Thaumaturga." Vita Quarta S. 
Brigidse, n. 2, p. 564. 

68 There are many authors, who affirm 
that St. Brigid had been interred at Down, 
in the first instance ; but, these writers rather 
belong to a comparatively modern period. 



Among others, John Brampton and Henry 
of Marlborough, in their Annals, relate, 
that her remains reposed there with the 
bodies of Saints Patrick and Columkille. 
At the year 1177, Roger Hovenden, in his 
Annals, has a similar statement. Again, 
the author of the Annals of Glastonbury 
says of St. Brigid, that having returned to 
Ireland, she rested soon afterwards in 
the Lord, and was buried in the city of 
Down. David Roth, Bishop of Ossory, in 
his Dissertation on St. Brigid, pp. 151, I5 2 > 
and Ussher, in his Index Chronolgicus, A.D. 
nxxm., and " De Ecclesiarum Britanni- 
carum Primordiis," cap. xvii., p. 888, are 
of accord, on this latter point. 

6 9 See Rev. Dr. Todd s " St. Patrick 
Apostle of Ireland." Introduction, pp. 
16 to 18. 

7 See an interesting summary of its his- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 185 



were effected ; since, Lord William de Vcsey, A.D. 1260, established a friary 
for the Franciscan Order, which is now popularly known as the Grey Abbey. 
It is situated on the south side of the town, near a high road, and surrounded 
by an extensive and a crowded graveyard, covered with humble graves and 
having several head-stones inscribed. A high hawthorn-fence separates it 
from the road, the only good enclosure surrounding it. A farm-house and 
Out-offices are at one side, and several fine ash-trees are thickly interlaced, to 
lend some adjoining paddocks shelter. An iron-gate forms an entrance from 
the road, but the off-fences are broken down, while cattle range among the 
graves and ruins. These latter traces of the fine old abbey are fast crumb 
ling away. They seem to indicate two chief divisions ; namely, the Friary 
proper, and its church, in immediate proximity. The entire length of the 
building appears to have been 35 yards, from east to west ; and, S yards in 
width, interiorly. The south side-wall is much broken ; the north side-wall 
at the church portion was propped by four buttresses, apparently built to give 
strength, at a period long after the Church had been quite completed. Six 
lancet-headed windows were in the north wall. A large and pointed window 
occupied the east gable. A long vault, extending from the monastic house 
northwards, is yet traceable, under the graves ; while, extending southwards, 
on the offside, are some fragments of foundations. ? These appearances 
indicate, that the plan of this building, at one time, was nearly cruciform.? 2 
Half of the west gable is entirely gone." In the year 1290, William de 
Vescy built a house for Carmelites or White Friars, and a few members of 
this order yet occupy a dwelling standing on the site. 

After death, our saint s relics were placed on one side of the altar in her 
church. 74 They were deposed in a monument, adorned with beautiful work 
manship, (lold and silver, superimposed, formed artistic decorations for her 
shrine, as also for that of St. Conleath.? 3 This latter tomb occupied a posi 
tion on the other side of the principal altar. Many miracles were wrought 
before the shrine of our holy abbess, after her death.? 6 It is related, that on 
her festival day, multitudes flocked to Kildare from different provinces ; some 
went to recover health through her intercession, others to offer gifts at her 
shrine, while some attended to witness magnificent ceremonies there per 
formed. Again, others were induced to be present through less devotional 
and more worldly motives." In such convocations, we may find probably, 
a prototype of the later " patrons," or " patterns/ so common in other parts 
of the country. It is incorrectly stated,? 3 in the Fourth Life of St. Brigid, 
that immediately after her death, she was buried with great honour and 
solemnity in the same tomb, with the most holy Archbishop Patrick.?"? It is 



lory, iii Archdall s " Monasticon Hiberni- Colgan does not hesitate in his opinion, 

cum," pp. 322 to ^i. l lat ^ - Brigid \vas first buried at Kildare. 

? l The accompanying illustration, engraved Bollamlus also accords on this point, in his 

by George A. Hanlon, fn>m a drawing on Commentarius Praeviusad Vitam S.Brigidze. 

the wood, by William ! . Wakeman, was " Ada Sanctorum," tomus i. Die i. Febru- 

taken as a sketch, on the spot, by the author, arii, sees, vi., vii., pp. 106 to 108. 

December, 1875. ?6 According to Professor O Looney s Irish 

7- Unless, indeed, the vault extending Life of St. Brigid, pp. 47, 48. 

northwards had no connexion with an upper ?? See Cogitosus "Vita S. Bngidae, cap. 

house, and had been intended solely for in- xiv. This account sufficiently refutes a sup- 

terments. position, offered by the author of her I- ourth 

73 Some fine carved stones were removed Life, that our saint had been at first buried 
from the Grey Abbey many years ago, and in Downpatrick. 

were used to build the Chapel of Miltown, ? 8 See Martin Ilavcrty s " History of Ire- 
some few miles from Kildare. land," chap, ix., p. So. 

74 See Rev. P. J. Carew s " Ecclesiastical After the lirst interment ol st. lingid, 
History of Ireland," chap, vi., p. 242. at Kildare, according to Cogitosus, that her 



j86 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



further intimated, such juxtaposition of their bodies, after death, had been a 
result of their wishes whilst alive. In that tract, it is expressly noted, their 
remains were interred, in the city of Ultonian territory, called Dun-da-Leth- 
glaisse, or Uun-da-Lethglass, 8 and which was situated near the sea. 81 It 
existed from the time of St. Patrick, as an ancient episcopal residence. 82 In 
former times, this city had been named Aras Kealtuir, after a celebrated hero 
or champion, called Kealtuir. 83 He is numbered among the principal heroes 
of Ireland, and he was a contemporary with Connor Mac Nessa, King of 
Ulster. 8 * Notwithstanding this account of our saint s death and burial, the 
author of her Fourth Life remarks, that the privileges, honour, and distinction, 
due to Kildare city in the province of Leinster, were recognised for ages after 
the Blessed Brigid s death, in connexion with her name and memory. 85 These 
facts serve, likewise, to impress us with the moral of all historic experience, 
that great names serve to make celebrated, through all time, localities, which 
without such connexion, should otherwise leave little to interest human 
sympathy, or awaken popular feeling. Fond memory recalls deeds that have 
been done there, and that have not passed away to unhonourable oblivion. 



CHAPTER XV. 

MIRACLES WROUGHT AT KILDARE AFTER ST. BRIGID S DEATH THE FALCON ST. 
BRIGID S RELICS ARE REMOVED TO DOWN REMARKABLE DISCOVERY OF THE 
BODIES OF ST. PATRICK, ST. BRIGID AND ST. COLUMKILLE IN THAT CITY SOLEMN 
TRANSLATION TO A MAGNIFICENT TOMB KILDARE AND ITS TRADITIONS - 
DESECRATION OF HOLY REMAINS AT DOWN REPUTED REMOVAL OF ST. liRIGID .S 
HEAD TO AUSTRIA, AND AFTERWARDS TO LISBON. 

NOT only during the lifetime of St. Brigid did she perform miracles, but even 
after release from her corporeal prison, many wonders, attributed to her 
merits and to Almighty power, took place within and without that monastery, 
where her venerable remains were deposed. 1 Of some miracles, Cogitosus 



remains were afterwards translated to Down entombed, viz., St. Patrick, St. Brigid and 
is admitted by Colgan. There they had St. Columkille. Besides, it became the 
been interred, in the same place with those burial-place of many other holy persons, 
of Patrick and Columkille. Although the but less renowned. It was, also, the birth- 
occurrence of translating her remains to place of the subtle Doctor Joannes Scotus, 
Down is unquestionable ; yet, the time when according to Cavellus, Thadses, Wadding, 
it took place is altogether unknown. See Arturus, &c. See Cardinal Bellarmin, 
Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix "Operum," tomus vii. De Scriptoribus 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. vi., p. 618. Ecclesiasticis. Steculum xiv. , pp. 461, 462. 

80 Afterwards Dun Patraic, Down, or s * See Sir James Ware s " De Hibernia 
Downpatrick. It comprised the greater et Antkjuitatibus ejus," cap. xxvi., p. 178. 
part of ancient Ulidia or Dalaradia. In the " 3 He flourished, about the time of our 
reign of Edward II. it was formed into two Lord s Incarnation, and in the beginning of 
counties, namely Down, and the Ards or the Christian era. 

Newtown ; but, in the time of Queen Eliza- 4 The father of Kialtuir was called Crui- 

beth, both were formed into the present theachyr. This latter was a favourite and 

county Down, which got the name from its companion of Connor Mac Nessa. 
chief town, Latinized " Dunum." See 85 See, Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." 

John O Hart s "Irish Pedigrees; or the Vita Quarta S. Brigidse, lib. ii. . cap. xcix., 

Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation," part and nn. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 

v., chap, vi., p. 254. ibid. 

81 It is in eastern Ulster. Down is chiefly CHAPTER xv. Immediately before the 
celebrated, on account of three most illus- narrative of her death, the author of her 
trious saints of Ireland, having been there Fourth Life says : "Hie, Fratres charissimi, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 187 



not only heard, but he was even an eye-witness. His account shows, that 
he flourished at a very early period, and as already mentioned, in a previous 
part of this biography. The abbot or president, over St. Brigid s great and 
renowned monastery, 2 sent stone-cutters and workmen to search out and 
prepare a mill-stone, wherever it could be discovered. Without much fore 
sight, these men proceeded to the top of a rocky mountain, where they 
selected a large and suitable stone. The ascent to this place was exceedingly 
difficult of approach. 3 Having shaped the stone into a round form and per 
forated it, to serve the purpose for which it had been intended, the prior was 
sent for, and he came with some men and oxen to remove it. But, the 
animals could not be driven up the rough ascent. With difficulty the prior 
approached it, attended only by a few companions. With the workmen and 
attendants, he began to consider how the mill-stone could be removed from 
the mountain brow, for it was found impossible to bring the yolked oxen 
over that rugged and broken ground. In despair of accomplishing their 
object, some said, that the stone should be abandoned, and that those who 
fashioned it, had wrought in vain : but, their president, more prudently 
thinking or inspired, replied with strong faith : " By no means abandon your 
effort, but lift the mill-stone like men, and precipitate it from the top of this 
mountain, in the name and through the intercession of our most holy Brigid. 
For, unless she, to whom nothing is impossible, according to what is said in 
Scripture, about all things being possible to the believer/ bear it to that place, 
whence the oxen shall be able to draw it, not any artifice or strength of man 
can bring this mill-stone over the rocky ground." Then, with trusting 
faith, the men heaved it into the valley beneath, while they stood above on 
the rock, to watch its progress. The stone slided over the edges of the cliffs 
gradually, until it came to a marshy spot below the mountain. There, on 
account of its humidity, neither men nor oxen could tread. Strange to say, 
the stone glided to that very place, where the animals stood, and without the 
least fracture, it was brought by oxen and men to the mill. There it was 
exactly fitted, to serve its purpose. 

To render this incident more miraculous, the same mill-stone, thus won 
derfully directed by St. Brigid, refused to perform its office, when the grain 
of a certain neighbouring magus had been brought to the mill, by a rustic. 
Ignorant regarding its owner, the miller put that grain between the mill 
stones ; yeC all his efforts, seconded by water-power and by the pressure of a 
strong current^ could not grind with the stone, already particularized. At 

miraculis & virtutibus beatissimre Matris whom these observations would seem appli- 

L5ri"idce scribendi vcl narrandi terminum cable, it can only be reasonably conjectured, 

ponimus: quia digmnn aliquid pom in that allusion is made to the contemporaneous 

chartis quotidie novum semper de ea sola abbot over a monastery of religious men 

jam invenissemus. Non enim modo cessant, then in Kildare, and who was included 

ncque cessabunt usque ad fmem srcculi talia among those brethren, to whom our saint s 

miracula per earn a Deo, qualia audistis per life is dedicated. See Colgans Inas 

earn in vita sua. Per hxc autem pauca quoe Thaumaturga." Secunda Vita b. Bngidce. 

scripta sunt lecturi, et audituri, qui scitis, Prologus and cap. xxxn., pp. 510, 523. 

qualis et quanti merit! apud Deum omnipo- 3 It is likely, the Red Hills, near Kildare 

tentem rloriosissima Virgo fuerit, scire po- are here alluded to, or possibly the Hill ot 

tes tis " Quarta Vita S. Brujidaj, lib. ii., Allen. The old map of Kildare county, 

can. xii., sec. 80. Bollandists " Acta published by John Noble and James Keenan 

Sanctorum," tomus i, Fcbruarii Die i., p. in 1752, gives a very curious outline of the 

, 7I Red Hills, as also of the Hill of Allen, 

2 Cogitosus adds, " de quo, in hujus opus- within the Isle of Allen, and altogether sur- 

culi principio, brevera fecimus mentionem," rounded with bog. 

&c. As Cogitosus does not expressly name 4 See St. Mark ix., 22 

any person-which is to be regretted-to * Near the town of Kildare runs a cons;- 



1 88 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



length, the astonished spectators discovered, how this grain belonged to a 
magus, and they no longer doubted, that mill-stone refused to grind this 
Gentile s corn, because of a miraculous efficacy conferred on it, through St. 
Brigid s merits. When this corn of the magus had been removed, and that 
of the monastery had been substituted, the mill-stone began to move without 
any impediment, and in its usual manner. After a certain interval had 
elapsed, it happened, that the mill itself was burned ; and, it was deemed 
remarkable, that not only every object therein had been consumed, but even 
the mill-stone, which corresponded with that one, which had been brought 
thither, through St. Brigid s special interposition. This latter relic was found, 
however, whole and uninjured, among the smoking ruins, after the fire had been 
extinguished. Such a circumstance being deemed miraculous, the recovered 
stone in question was afterwards brought to the monastery, where it was 
conspicuously placed, near the gate of that interior fort, 6 by which the 
church was surrounded.? Through veneration for St. Brigid, many came to 
visit it, and the faithful, who touched this relic, were healed of several dis 
eases, which afflicted them. 8 

A curious story has been told about a falcon, which was thought to have 
frequented Kildare, and to have constantly taken its station on the very top 
of the ecclesiastical tower,9 from St. Brigid s time to the twelfth century. 
Wherefore, the people called it St. Brigid s bird, and held it in great venera 
tion. In the presence of some civilians and soldiers, this bird was seen 
chasing from air to earth some wild birds and water-fowl, over the plain of 
Kildare. It had been accustomed or trained to this sport. The bird would 
not allow any rival to remain about Kildare Church ; yet, at a certain season 
of the year, during breeding time, it was accustomed to retreat among the 
mountains of Glendalough. 10 After the usual interval, it returned, nestling 



derable stream, which yet affords an excel- similarity in structure seems to point to the 

lent mill-race at Tully. This probably is same degree of knowledge in the builders," 

the current to which allusion is made. By vol. i., p. xviii. 

a south-west course it falls into the River E See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 

Barrow, to the north of Kilberry, where an Vita Secunda S. Brigidae, cap. xxxii., xxxiii., 

interesting group of ecclesiastical and civil xxxiv., and n. 16, pp. 523, 526. 

remains may be seen. 9 Doubtless, the existing round tower is 

6 This was probably a Cashcl, which, ow- the one alluded to. 

ing to the ancient and modern encroach- I0 This romantic spot is agreeably alluded 

ments for roads and buildings surrounding to in the following lines : 

the present old church and round tower at " Where, girt by many a mountain 

Kildare, has long since disappeared. g re y> 

7 Lately has appeared a magnificent illus- Rolled in itself unsociably, 
trated work, whichhadlongoccupied the time The Valley of the Lakes displayed 
and thoughts of a distinguished and niunifi- Its shrines, embrowned in thickest 
cent Irish nobleman, whose loss to native art, shade 

science and literature has been deservedly Of circling mountains; that appeared, 

lamented. Before death, however, he had With rude stupendous height, to 

made provision for its editorship by a lady, guard 

combining in the rarest degree faculties of This hallowed region of repose, 

artistic taste and antiquarian knowledge. Here in dark horror Lugduff rose, 

The Pagan and Christian remains of Ireland The southern sentinel ; Beside 

are exquisitely produced in photographic Towered Derrybawn, in waving 

autotypes, lithographs, and wood-engrav- pride; 

ings, in a style leaving nothing to be desired. Between them, o er its rocky bed, 

Miss Stokes, in her truly learned introduc- By wood embrowned a torrent sped ; 

tion to "Notes on Irish Architecture," by While with contrasted brightness fell, 

Edwin, Third Earl of Dunraven, has pointed From hills, that westward bound the 

out the differences existing, to mark the in- vale, 

dependent purposes for which the Pagan Glaneola s cascade ; And North, 

caisel or stone-fort and the Christian caisel Broccagh his mountain mists sent 

or enclosure had been erected, " while their forth ; 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 189 



in an almost tame state, within the ecclesiastical buildings. The bird re 
mained always undisturbed by their pious inmates. At the time of King- 
John s departure from Ireland, this extraordinary bird of ages, and which had 
ever been regarded with pride by the Kildare people, was killed by a rustic. 
He struck it with his staff, whilst incautiously exposed to a fate, for which it 
seemed unprepared. From this incident, Giraldus Cambrensis draws the 
coiumon-place moral, that in the most prosperous condition of things, danger 
may be at hand, and that we should not trust life, which is daily exposed to 
mischances, however pleasant and agreeable may be our state. 11 

It seems sufficiently probable, that the remains of the venerable abbess 
were at first interred within the church of Kildare ; where her nuns for some 
ages, to honour her memory, kept a fire always burning. Hence, that con 
vent was called the House of Fire. 12 It is supposed, that about A.D. 835, or 
probably before, when Kildare begun to suffer from the hostile Danish in 
cursions,^ the relics of our saint were removed to Down 1 -* for greater security, 
and to guard them from Pagan profanation. Here, they were deposed, with 
those of St. Patrick and of St. Columba. We can have little doubt, they 
were for a long time carefully preserved, and greatly honoured by the faithful. 
Yet, the Northmen frequently attacked, plundered, and burned this town. 
These ravages were continued, during the tenth, eleventh, and even the 
twelfth century.^ It seems probable, the harrassed townspeople were obliged, 
through motives of precaution, to remove and bury in the earth those precious 
remains consigned to their charge. Probably, the secret of their entombment 
had been confided, only to a few ecclesiastics, and these might have perished, 
during the tumults of that time. It would appear, that a tradition, regarding 
where the illustrious saints had been buried, passed out of popular recollec 
tion in Down, 16 after the lapse of some centuries. What is still more aston 
ishing, a knowledge, concerning where St. Patrick s, St. Brigid s, and_ St. 
Columkille s relics had been deposed, was even obliterated, from the minds 
of the faithful, and in a city, where those holy persons were ever held in 
such extraordinary veneration. 

About the year 1185, 7 however, the first year of King John s arrival in 
Ireland, 13 when Malachy III. 1 ? was bishop over Down, this holy man was 
accustomed to offer up his prayers to God, that a discovery of the above- 
mentioned saint s relics might be made by him. 20 It so happened, one night, 

IUit in the cast, no envious height ; in one tomb with Patrick ; and where Colum 

Shut out the golden flood of light." Cille was afterwards interred. See Drs. 

Todd s and Reeves " Martyrology of Done- 

John D Alton s " Dermid ; or Erin in the gal," pp. 36, 37. 

Days of Born." Canto v., sec. xi., pp. * See " The Irish Penny Magazine, vol. 

131, 132. i-, ^o. 43, p. 338. 

"See Giraldi Cambrensis "Opera," " An interesting account of this ancient 

tomus v. Edited by lames F. Dnnock, city, supposed to be the Dunum mentioned 

M.A. Topographia Hibernica, dist. ii., by the geographer Ptolomy, is found in 

cap. xxxvii., pp. 122, 123. Walter Harris " Ancient and Present State 

IJ See Rev. S. Baring- Gould s "Lives of of the County Down." 
the Saints," vol. ii. February 1st, p. 22. 7 See Rev. S. Baring-Gould s Lives of 

* "Cependant versle milieu duneuvieme the Saints," vol. n., February Ist^p. 22. 
siecle un peuple sorti des forets de la Scandi- lS See 1 Abbe Mac-Geoghegan s ttis- 

navie, les Danois, aborderent en Irlande ; toirc de 1 Irlande Ancienne et Moderne, 

ils en occuperent une partie sans beaucoup for an account of his visit, tome n., parti, 

de peine ; la lutte contre eux devient cepen- iii., chap, i., pp. 33, 34- - 

dant vive et obstinee." Gustave de Beau- See Harris Ware, vol. i., Bishops < 

mont s " L lrlande, Sociale, Politiqueet Re- Down," p. 196. 

hVieuse" tomei. Introduction Historique, = See an account of this discovery, 11 

, ec n D 8 Ussher s " De Britanmcarum Ecclesiarura 

CIli-l I J* ! j -jt*-. lit j ^J* *^ }] Q C f Cr\ 

She was buried at Dun, or Downpatrick, Primordiis," cap. xvn. , pp. J 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



while engaged in fervent prayer and within the church of his cathedral city, 
Malachy saw a ray of light, like a sun-beam, extending itself through the 
church. 21 Finally, it settled over the graves of those inhumed saints. The 
bishop was exceedingly rejoiced at this vision, and he prayed more earnestly, 
that the ray of light might remain, until he had discovered the relics. Then 
rising, and having procured necessary implements, he went to the illuminated 
spot and dug beneath. In fine, he disinterred the bodies of the three saints. 
The tomb or grave of St. Patrick was fixed in a central cave or compartment, 
with the remains of St. Bridget and St. Columba, on either side. 22 He then 
withdrew these precious relics, and placed them in three separate coffins. 
Afterwards, he buried them in that same spot, which he took care to mark 
with great exactness. Malachy related the particulars of his vision, to John 
de^Courcey, the conqueror of Down. This renowned warrior, being distin 
guished for his zeal in the cause of religion, concurred with the bishop, that 
a message should be despatched to Rome, with an humble supplication, 
addressed to the Sovereign Chief of the faithful, Urban III. His sanction, 
for a solemn translation of those relics, was requested. To this petition, 
Pope Urban assented, and immediately he despatched Vivian, Cardinal 
Priest of St. Stephen, as his Legate to Ireland. The public translation of 
the relics took place, on the gth of June, 1186, the festival of St. Columkille. 
With all due reverence and great solemnity, those remains were removed from 
the place of their deposition to a more conspicuous position, assigned for 
their reception, within the cathedral church. 2 3 Fifteen bishops, many abbots, 
provosts, deans, archdeacons, priors, with other clergy and the laity, assisted 
on this solemn occasion. 2 

_ Speaking of Kildare city, 2 5 in Leinster, which had become so renowned, 
owing to its connexion with our glorious abbess, Giraldus Cambrensis says, 
that foremost, among many miraculous things worthy of record, was St. 
Brigid s inextinguishable fire. 26 Not, that this fire itself was incapable of 
being extinguished, did it obtain any such name, but, because nuns and holy 
women had so carefully and sedulously supplied fuel to feed its flames, that 
from St. Brigid s time to the twelfth century, when he wrote, it remained per 
petually burning through a long lapse of years. 2 7 What was still more re- 



21 See an interesting account of this whole 2 5 The town of Kildare and its immediate 

matter in Rev. Sylvester Malone s "Church surroundings, together with St. Brigid s 

History of Ireland," chap, iii., pp. 95 to well, near fully, is shown on the " Ord- 

97- nance Survey Townland Maps for the 

- : See Giraldi Cambrensis, " Opera," County of Kildare," Sheet 22. 

vol. v. Edited by James F. Dimock. 26 Singularly applicable are the lines, 

Topographia Hibernica, dist. iii., cap. xviii., found in that magnificent poem, " The Fire 

pp. 163, 164. _ Worshippers," one of Moore s happiest in- 

" The bodies of St. Patrick, St. Columb, spirations, and allegorically referring to Ire- 

and St. Bridget were translated at Down, land, 
by the Pope s Legate ; and the staff of Jesus 

was carried in triumph from the Cathedral " And though for ever past the days 

of Armagh to Christ Church, Dublin, the When God was worshipp d in the blaze 

adventurers hoping that it would promote That from its lofty altar shone ; 

their ^interests." Taffe s " History of Ire- Though fled the priests, the vot ries gone, 

land," vol. i., p. 42. Still did the mighty flame burn on, 

24 _This account nearly agrees, in every Through chance and change, through 

particular, with one contained in the Office good and ill, 

of this Translation, printed at Paris, A.D. Like its own God s eternal will, 

1620. The Cardinal Legate, however, is Deep, constant, bright, unquenchable." 
named John, in the latter compilation. 

Ussher calls him Vivian. See, " De Bri- "Lalla Rookh." 

tannicarum Ecclesiarum Primordiis," cap. 2 ? To this remarkable circumstance allu* 

xvii., p. 891. sion has been made, and it has been immor- 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. i 9 t 



markable, notwithstanding great heaps of wood, that must have been piled 
upon it, during such a prolonged interval, the ashes of this fire never in 
creased. 28 

What is furthermore remarkable, from the time of St. Brigid and after her 
death until the twelfth century, an even number, including twenty nuns, and 
the abbess, had remained in Kildare nunnery. Each of these religious, in 
rotation, nightly watched this inextinguishable fire. On the twentieth night, 
having placed wood on its embers, the last nun said : " O Brigid, guard thy 
fires, for this night the duty devolves on thyself." Then the nun left that 
pyre, but although the wood might have been all consumed before morning, 
yet the coals remained alive and inextinguishable. A circular hedge of shrubs 
or thorns surrounded it, and no male person dare presume to enter within that 
sacred enclosure, lest he might provoke Divine vengeance, as had been ex 
perienced by a certain rash man, who ventured to transgress this ordinance. 
Women only were allowed to tend that fire. Even these attendants were not 
permitted to blow it with their breath ; but, they used boughs of trees as fans 
for this purpose. Young goats could not even penetrate the enclosure, through 
St. Brigid s miraculous intervention. At Kildare, also, were to be seen most 
beautiful plains, which were called St. Brigid s pastures, and no one dared 
disturb them with the plough. 2 ? Besides, it was considered almost miraculous, 
although animals of all the surrounding districts grazed on these lands, 3 from 
the rising to the setting sun, on the following morning this herbage seemed 
luxuriant as ever. 31 The same remarks well apply to the celebrated racing 
ground of the Curragh, 32 in the nineteenth as well as during the twelfth 
century. 

It is mentioned, that a certain archer, belonging to Count Richard s family, 
had dared to leap over the hedge, and to blow with his breath St. Brigid s 
fire, at Kildare ; but, immediately he leaped back frantic, and whoever 
accosted him, this archer blew into the person s face, in like manner, while 
stating, that he had thus profaned the saint s sacred fire. In this demented 
state, he ran through houses of the whole town. Being seized and bound by 
his companions, he begged them to conduct him towards the first water they 
could meet, and here drinking an incredible quantity, he immediately ex 
pired. When another man had put his leg over the hedge, surrounding this 
fire, and had been suddenly drawn back by his companions, both his foot 
and thigh became withered. So long as he lived, that person remained lame 
and paralysed. 3J This, however, was not the only instance of Divine judg- 

talized, in some beautiful lines, written by Exigua tantum gelidus ros nocte reponet." 

"the poet of all circles and the idol of his 

own." See Moore s " Iri.>h Melodies." Georgia*?, lib. ii., 11. 2OI, 2O2. 

- s See Giraldi Cambrensi* "Opera, See Giraldi Cambrensis "Opera," vol. 

tomus v. Edited by Inmes F. Dimock, v. Edited by James F. Dimock, M.A. 

M.A. Topographia Ilibernica, di>t. ii., Topographia Hibernica, dist. ii., cap. xxxv., 

cap. xxxiv., pp. 120, 121. xv-ivi., pp. 121, 122. 

- Allusion is no doubt made to the Cur- ;; The old map of Kildare county by John 

ragh, "a fine undulating down, about six Noble and James Kernan presents a picture 

miles in length and two in breadth," and it of the great racing contest in 1751, on the 

is "unequalled, perhaps, in the world for Curragh of Kildare, between Black and All 

the exceeding softness and elasticity of the Black so celebrated in Oliver Goldsmith s 

turf." Mr. and Mrs. Hall s " Ireland : its "Citizen of the World," letter v. with 

Scenery, Character," &c., vol. ii., pp. 258, Bajazet. This illustration also shows the 

2 co equestrian costume of that period. 

3 To these pastures are applied the lines 33 See Giraldi Cambrensis "Opera." 

of Virgil : Edited by James F. Dimock, M.A. Topo 
graphia Hibernica, dist. ii., cap. xlviii., p. 

" Et quantum longis carpent armenta die- 131. 
bus 



LIFE OF 57 . EP.:GID. 










to 570. Ices Er-r.ii /L-.-ri.--: z^i C.-. :^ -?.- : -- si:: ." 

" : He occapie-i ihis =-5-2 :"::=: A.r. 1215 :: 

122-i, v;ie^ he i.e-i, a:c.: e ;e-nr:::ic of Col. !:::. r - .. ei:u:^. L-:r:-, ifcf. 

:- Se? Rev. 5. Bz^-r-C-rzIi s " L-T^ ~: tqziry bad beai discoTerec anocs e nir.s 

sels/A-D. l5iS. ^ee z J~ . C:^: :: Do-sn. " Aztc^i_i 5-i-c. 5. pp. 

ccza ve:er_5 ;tri;r^ras carletizi; azraret, in i5 Se-e KsTertr- s ; Hiit^rj of Ire .irr:, 

cza corccn D. Fi^icii. Cc .uncx, e: Er>i- Azrler.: and iL>ier^." c2^.r. ECE^ c. 55;. 

dz rie^i: 5cp^^- : " R::ij.ri: Srirvh-rKi See Rev. 5. Barin^-&: 1 ^i i " Lives of 

Ih:iU_-i5, " De Rcb^s iz. Hiierz^i Ges- ths Sa.ir.r-, " voL iL, Fecriiry ij^ p. 2X 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 






e several prophecies, regarding this illustrious saint, her 
a r.er virtues were destined to be celebrated, not only in Ireland, 
the world, while that veneration and respect p^id to her 
OI 7 v itinue. until the cay of final doom.*? The event has 

ed. h-.therto. with this recorded prediction, nor can we reasonably 
-.:ot tne prophetic saying will continue to be verihed. when time draws to 
"or. numberless writers have testified concerning the extent and 
lose honours paid to her throughout Ireland, as also in the 
various countries c: Europe, and over the entire world. Generations ye: 
uncom sr.a.. continue still further to extend and perpetuate her fame. 



CHAPTER XVI. 






MEMORY MODERN CHURCHES. CHAPELS. AND CONVENTS 




THE extraordinary veneration and devotion, entertained by the Irish people* 
for ^t. Bridget, are evidenced by numberless ancient and modem churches, 
c.iapels. convents, holy wells, and places, still retaining her name, throughout 
every part of our island. There were many other churches and religious 
houses, in different parts of Ireland, and of which ^ft. Brigid is patron ; 
although such erections and places are not now named after her. Colgan 
had obtained catalogues of churches, belonging to the different dioceses of 
Dublin, Tuam. Kildare. Elphin. and Lismore. afterwards united to Waterford, 
from bishop- presiding over these respective sees. From such lists, he was 
enabled to set down the names of various churches or places, which claimed 
St. Brigid. as special patron. 1 But, as he was unable to obtain catalogues 
ot contemporaneous churches and patrons, in connexion with the remaining 

_ 

-nve or twenty-six sees in Ireland, he justly leaves us to infer, how 
extended must have been that fame and veneration, procured for our saint, 
throughout the rest of our island.- Of Erinn she was always regarded as 
the great.and general intercessor. Hence, it happened, that so many different 
territories, baronies, parishes, denominations, townlands, and natural objects, 
were associated with her name. 3 While enlarging this list, from other avail 
able sources for information, our catalogue must necessarily be imperfect. 
A more extended knowledge of localities and of popular traditions, with com 
parison and examination of registers or archives, may enable future investi 
gators greatly to increase the succeeding topographical collection of Brigitine 
localities and objects. 



*" Caram na~>:::e ril;am psr.es, qu<e ; When Co .gan s mere page is cited in this 

-icut sol in vertice call luceb;: in mundo/ chapter, allusion U made to the previously 

Vita Tertia s. Bridies, car. ii.. p. Z2~. mentioned work and appendix. 

Also, the same wcrcs cccur/m Vi:a Quarta - : This enumeration Coigan extracted from 

S. BrigkL-e. hb. i., car. ii., p. 546, with the his Catalogue PI Churches, belonging to the 

additional. u-que in r-r.em. -aculi." Col- dioceses, already mentioned. But, he would 

gan s " Trias Thaumaturga. : net undertake to say, whether all these 

CHAPTER xvi. It mu.st be remarked, places derived their names from St. Brigid, 

that some places, mentioned 1 y Co .gan, as surnamed Thaumaturga, owing to the num- 

being dedicated to, or called alter, our ber and greatness of her miracles, or \vhe- 

saint, are to be found in other Irish dioceses, ther some had not been derived irom other 

besides those previously named. feee- Tria.s saints, bearing the name of Brigid, since 

Thaumaturga. 1 Appendix Quarta ad Acta many such are to be found in our Irish Ca- 

S. Brigidie, cap. xvi., pp. 624, c2>. lencars. 

O 



i 94 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



Foremost among the places, -where St. Brigid was honoured, is Kildare. 
The cathedral church^ of this ancient city, in the province of Leinster, took 
her name and tutelary guardianship, we can have little doubt, not very long 
after her demise. 5 In the seventeenth century, her chapel was also standing. 6 
A monastery of Canons Regular at Kildare, where St. Brigid formerly pre 
sided over monks and nuns, is said to have been dedicated to her ; while, 
the convent of her order rejoiced especially, in having her once as an illustrious 
directrix, and after death as a glorious patroness. In modern times, the 
Catholic parochial church has been dedicated to her memory, while, the 
Presentation Convent and schools of the town arc under her special 
patronage. Further, towards the west, Rosenallis,? a parish church, in the 
barony of Tinnahinch, Queen s County, in the deanery of Killeigh, or Kill- 
achuidh, diocese of Kildare, 8 was dedicated to St. Brigid. 9 

The following churches and places were dedicated to or named from St. 
Bride, or St. Bridget, in the present city and diocese of Dublin. St. Bride s 
Church, 10 situated in Bride-street, 11 was formerly a dependency on the Church 
of the Most Holy Trinity, and afterwards on St. Patrick s Cathedral, owing 
to a grant of Archbishop Comin. It also was called after our saint. 12 
Bride s-alley, running off Bride-street. Bride s-place, situated off Golden- 
lane. Bridewell-lane, off West Arran-street. This locality may have taken 
its name, from some Brideswell. or St. Brigid s well. A nunnery, dedicated 
to St. Bride, formerly stood in Channel-row. There was an hospital, dedi 
cated to St. Peter and to St. Brigid. 13 It stood in Peter-street. There was 
a Bride s Well ; now covered by a pump, which is to be seen at present in 
a courtway off Bride-street. In the county of Dublin, at Killossery, other 
wise called Ashbourne-rath on Ashbourne-road, eight or nine miles from 
Dublin city, are the ruins of an ancient ivied church, which was dedicated to 
St. Brigid. 1 * It is a curacy in the deanery of Swords. 15 It was called Kilteri 
or Killostre in ancient documents. 16 

The old ruins of Killester, anciently called Kyllastra J 7 or Quillestra, are 
enclosed by walls, and on the road-side. lS Several portions of the former 



4 Sec Colgan, p. 625. Most Holy Trinity. See " History of the 

s See a description of the ruins in Thomas City of Dublin, from the earliest accounts to 

Bell s "Essay on the Origin and Progress the present time," &c., by J. "Wai-burton, 

of Gothic Architecture, with reference to Rev. J. Whitelaw, and the Rev. Robert 

the Ancient History and Present State of "Walsh, vol. i., p. 267. 

the Remains of such Architecture in Ire- " This is probably the one, called Tern- 
land, to which was awarded the Prize pro- plum S. Brigida% or Tcampull Bride, in 
posed by the Royal Irish Academy for the Colgan s list, p. 625. 

best Essay on that Subject," sect, xvi., pp. l " See "William Monck Mason s "History 

192 to 195. Dublin : 1829, 8vo. and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathe- 

6 Kill-brigdc, or Kilbridc, a chapel at dral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," 

Kildare town, and in the same diocese, &c., book i., chap, xi., p. 72. 

province of Leinster, was dedicated to St. I3 This was founded in 1810, by Dr. 

Brigid, in Colgan s time. See p. 625. Kirby. 

^ See its parochial extent on " Ordnance u Sec " Repertorium Yiride." 

Survey Townland Maps for the (Queen s IS See D Alton s " History of the County 

County." Sheets 3, 4, 6, 7, 8. of Dublin," pp. 400 to 402. 

8 See Colgan, p. 625. l6 See William Monck Mason s "History 

9 See an interesting account of this parish and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathe- 
the proper name of which is stated to be dral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," 
Oregan by the Rev. John Baldwin, curate, &c., book i., chap, x., sect, ii., p. 49. 

in William Shaw Mason s " Statistical Ac- I? See some curious grants of lands here 

count or Parochial Survey of Ireland," vol. to a certain Andrew Breen, in Warburton s, 

iii. No. xvi., pp. 311 to 332. Whitelaw s and \Valsh s "History of the 

10 We find, at A.D. 1 180, Joseph, chaplain City of Dublin, from the earliest accounts to 
of St. Bridget s, was a subscribing witness the present time," &c., vol. i., p. 266. 

to a grant of land, made to the prior of the l8 About three miles from Dublin city. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



95 



building remain, but, in a very delapidated condition. Masses of ivy shade 
them on every direction. J 9 The walls are well jointed and grouted, while the 
black calp limestone of this district furnished material for their erection. These 
are three feet in thickness, and the church measures seventeen feet in width, 
on the interior, by forty-six feet, in length. The ruins stand in the centre of a 
small and overcrowded graveyard, which is nearly covered with weeds, aged 
elder trees, and tangled brambles. This chapel once appendant to the 
church ot Swords appears to have been quadrangular, without the usual 
division of nave and choir. Four large apertures are in the side-walls two 
of these on either side. Towards the road, one opening appears to have been 




The Old Ruins of Killester. 



arched with undressed stone, and this was of obtusely-pointed Gothic shape. 
1 robably a door lay underneath it. On one of the gables, towards the west, 
a large door-way pierced the wall, which seems torn away below its sill to 
the present earth-level. Traces of plaster, remaining about its interior, prove 
that the church was used for purposes of worship, at no very remote age. 
Opposite the gable described, there was an orifice in the other. A large- 
pointed Gothic eastern window stood here. 20 Mr. 1) Alton, who saw the 
place before the year 1838, infers only the existence of this window. Com 
fortable old mansions, with their high garden walls, are in the immediate 
vicinity of this old burial-place ; and, but for its proximity to the public 
road, the seclusion of its situation would almost be complete. The grave 
surfaces are high over the adjoining fields and the road level ; especially 
between the ruins and the public highway. Rank, indeed, is that soil, 
formed by the dust of many generations of dead, here quietly reposing. 21 A 



l> The accompanying engraving by Mrs. 
Millanl, Dublin, is from a sketch taken by 
the author on the spot, January 1st, 1876. 

:o See Thomas Bell s " Kssay on the 
Origin and Progress of Gothic Architecture, 
with reference to the Ancient History and 
Present State of the Remains of such Archi 



tecture in Ireland," etc., sect. xiv. , p. 188. 

21 In some instances, the coffins of mere 
infants were found protruding over the sur 
face ; and, in one particular case, the name, 
and date of death, inscribed over two years 
before, were distinctly legible on the tiny 
breast-plate. 



196 LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



few old trees, near the iron gate, which affords an entrance, seem to have 
shaded the graves beneath for centuries. One of those trees an ash is 
rapidly decaying. On the October day, 22 when we rested for a time at this 
mortuary place, "the sear and yellow leaf" scantily hung from the few re 
maining branches. This chapel, an appendage to Christ Church, Dublin, at 
the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion, was dedicated, as we are told, to 
St. Brigid, the Patroness of Ireland. 23 

At Swords, about eight miles from Dublin, there was a chapel, dedicated 
to St. Brigid, lying north of the town, and an ancient pardon cross stood 
near. 2 * It adjoined the prebendary s glebe, and it arose not far from the 
gates of the old archiepiscopal palace, having two burgages attached. 25 At 
Ward, 26 about three or four miles from Dublin, on the Finglas side, are the 
very slender ruins of a chapel, dedicated to St. Brigid, 2 ? one of three subser 
vient to Finglas. These remains are sodded over, almost even with the 
ground, excepting one ivied gable. No tomb of note is to be found in the 
graveyard. 28 This chapel of Ward, 2 9 a parochial one, in the barony of 
Castleknock, lay within the diocese and county of Dublin. 3 At Castle- 
knock, about five miles from Dublin, there might formerly be seen an abbey 
for Canons, following the rule of St. Augustine. About 1184, Richard 
Tyrrell, in honour of St. Brigid, granted certain lands to endow it. 31 This 
handsome suburban village of Castleknock, 32 had a parish church in a barony 
so called, of Dublin county and diocese. 33 It was dedicated to St. Brigid, 
who was also patroness of a cell there established. 3 * Likewise, a Kildarenia, 
parish church, belonging to the diocese of Dublin, 35 is said to have been 
under St. Brigid s patronage. Tulach, or Tully, 36 a parish within the barony 
of Rathdown, county and diocese of Dublin, 37 had a church dedicated to St. 
Brigid. 38 Already has allusion to it been made, in a previous chapter. 
Besides these, Grainseach Harold, alias, Harold Grange, a parish church, 
within the county and diocese of Dublin, 3 ? was under the patronage of St. 
Brigid. At Tallagh, about seven miles from Dublin, a chapel of St. Bride 
stood near the Dodder. The stones of this building were used in the 
erection of an adjoining factory. There was a Kilbride chapel, near Rath- 



"- In 1870. = See Colgau, p. 625. 

23 See D Alton s " History of the County 33 See D Alton s " History of the County 
of Dublin," pp. 239 to 241. of Dublin," pp. 552 to 562. 

24 See, also, William Monck Mason s 34 See William Monck Mason s " History 
" History and Antiquities of St. Patrick s and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathe- 
Cathedral and Collegiate Church, near clral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," 
Dublin," &c., book i., chap, x., sect, ii., p. &c., book i., chap, x., sect, ix., p. 58- 

49. 35 See Colgan, p. 625. 

25 See D Alton s " History of the County ; > 6 See "Ordnance Survey Townland 
of Dublin," p. 274. Maps for the County of Dublin." Sheets 

26 In ancient times, called the town of 22, 23, 25, 26. 
Riemund le Bank. 3 ? See Colgan, p. 625. 

2 ? See William Monck Mason s "History 3S The Rev. Dr. Todd takes Mr. D Alton 

and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathe- and Ledwich to task, for stating this church 

dral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," had been dedicated to St. Tullock or St. 

&c., book i., chap, vii., p. 37. Olave. The ancient name was Cut,Ac ru\ 

- 8 See D Alton s " History of the County n-eprcop, " the hill of the bishops," and it 

of Dublin," pp. 58410587. Avas sacred to St. Bride s memory. Sec 

29 See its extent, on the "Ordnance Sur- " The Book of Obits and Martyrology of 
vcy Townland Maps for the County of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, 
Dublin." Sheets 10, n, 13, 14. commonly called Christ Church, Dublin. 

30 See Colgan, p. 625. Edited by John Clarke Crosthwaite and 

31 See it shown on the "Ordnance Sur- Rev. James Henthorn Todd. Introduction, 
vey Townland Maps for the County of p. Ixxxiii., n. (c). 

Dublin." Sheets 13, 14, 17, 18. 39 See Colgan, p. 625. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



197 



more, and between it and Tipper, which belonged to the Knights of St. 
John of Jerusalem. Between the Golden Hill and Knocktelowny, eight or 
nine miles from Dublin, were the ruins of a chapel called Kilbride Ogadre. 
It lies in the glen near the Liffey. It was dependent on the mother 
church of Kilmesantan or Templesantan, so picturesquely situated high over 
the bank of the Dodder River, and nestling among the Dublin mountains.* 
At Stillorgan, about five miles from Dublin, there was a church,-" dedicated 
to St. Bride. 2 It is supposed, the Protestant church now stands on its site. 
An ancient well is near, but it could not be ascertained, as having been 
dedicated to St. Brigid, from any existing tradition. 

The following compound local denominations or at least the vastly 
greater number of them are presumed to have been called after our St. 
Brigid. Here were probably named, in honour of her, and also dedicated, 
churches, chapels, or religious institutions. A chapel of St. Brigid was 
within Cunga or Cong Monastery, county of Mayo, and province of Con- 
naught.^ This existed in the seventeenth century, and perhaps to a later 
period. In the city of Dublin, there is a parish, 44 and a parochial church, 
dedicated to St. Bridget.^ The church is now used for purposes of Protestant 
worship, and it stands on the site of a former Catholic church. Adjoining 
are the Protestant schools of St. Bridget. There is another parish, dedicated 
to St. Bridget, in the barony of Forth, and county of \Vexfurd. 46 

There was a Kill-brigde, a chapel in the territory of Irnacluiais,*? in 
Meath ; and, also, a Kill-brigde, in Ferakeall^ territory, diocese of Meath. 
\ arious places, here, were under her protection. Kilbride parish, is situated 
partly in the barony of Fore, 4 ? county of Meath ;5-> and. partly in the barony 
Clonmahoiv 1 county of Cavan.s 2 Kilbride to\vnland is in this latter division.53 
There is a townland of Kilbride, 54 in the parish of Nobber, barony of Mor- 



4J See William Monck Mason s " History 
and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathe 
dral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," 
book i., chap, v., xi., pp. 28, 74, 75, and 
nn. ibid. 

41 See D Alton s " History of the County 
of Dublin," pp. 837 to 841. 

42 According to Archbishop Allen s 
" Liber Niger." 

43 See Colgan, p. 624. An interesting 
account of Cong, with an illustration from a 
drawing by Samuel Lover, R. 11. A., will be 
found in Sir William Wilde s "Lough 
Corrib, its Shores and Islands, with Notices 
of Lough Mask," chap, vii., pp. 145 to 176. 

44 See "Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Dublin. Sheet 
iS. 

45 The present parish of St. Bride consists 
of a union of three smaller parishes, the 
ancient St. Bride s, St. Stephen s and St. 
Michael de la Pole. See that most elegant 
and valuable hand-book, so handsomely 
issued, "An Historical Guide to Ancient 
and Modern Dublin." Illustrated by en 
gravings, after drawings by George Petrie. 
By the Rev. G. N. Wright, A.M., pp. 152 
to 154. 

46 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Wexford." Sheet 
37- 



v Under this form, it does not seem to be 
easy of identification. We find, however, 
in the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick," 
mention made of a "territory of Laeghaire 
of Bregia and Imghae in the territory of 
Laeghaire of Meath." Miss Cusack s " Life 
of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland," p. 395. 

48 This is rendered by Dr. O Donovan, 
" Viri cdlaruin seu potius ecclesiani>n." 
The name was long preserved in Fircal, now 
known as Eglish, a barony in the King s 
County ; but, there is ample evidence to 
prove, that Feara-ceall comprised, likewise, 
the baronies of Ballycowan and Ballyboy, in 
the same county. See " The Topographical 
Poems of John O Dubhagain and Gioila na 
Naomh O Huiclhrin," n. 24, p. vi. 

" A great number of ancient forts may be 
seen, in this division ol the parish. 

50 This is shown on the Ordnance Sur 
vey Townland Maps for the County of 
Meath." Sheets 8, 9. 

I Several ancient forts are to be found on 
this section of the Ordnance Maps. 

5 2 This is shown on the " Ordnance Sur 
vey Townland Maps for the County of 
Cavan." Sheets 38, 42. 

53 See ibid., Sheet 38. 

54 This is shown on the " Ordnance Sur 
vey Townland Maps for the County of 
Meath." Sheets 6, 12. 



I 9 8 LIFE OF ST. RIGID. 

gallion, and county of Meath. We find, also, a parish, called Kilbridess or 
Moymet, 56 in the barony of Upper Navan, deanery of Trim, and county of 
Meath. It contains an old church, venerable in its desolation, and mantled 
with ivy.s? It measures seventy-five by sixteen feet. At Iskaroon,s 8 there is 
a church and well dedicated to St. Brigid. A cemetery adjoined both, but 
it has been discontinued as a place of interment for many past years. 59 In 
Killare parish, 60 barony of Rathconrath, and county of Westmeath, deanery 
of Clara, and diocese of Meath, there are the ruins of St. Brigid s chapel ; the 
length was thirty-three feet, by nineteen in breadth. Two ash-trees spread 
over the site of the altar. St. Bridgid s Well, shaded by an ash-tree, is also 
pointed out. Again, a small chapel, called Tigh-Bahrighde, or " Bridgid s 
House," stood on the townland of Ardnurcher. 61 It has been pulled down, 
however, and uprooted. St. Bridgid s Well is here, also, and it is occasionally 
frequented. 62 At Drumbride, 63 parish of Drumcondra, 6 * and barony of Lower 
Slane, in the deanery of Kells, county of Meath, an abbey and a church are said 
to have been erected by St. Brigid. On a lofty hill, portion of an old church yet 
remains. It is situated about two miles north of Drumcondra. The cemetery is 
yet a favourite place of interment, for people in the neighbourhood. 65 A moat 
is beside it. In the parish of Kilbride, 66 barony of Dunboyne and deanery of 
Kells, in the county of Meath, there was an old church, which was pulled 
down, but the cemetery remains. 6 ? Near it is St. Bridgid s Well. The parish 
is under her patronage. In it are several fragments of way-side crosses. 
The beautiful Lough Sheelin lies near it, and various islands there certify to 
the existence of ancient religious foundations. 68 At Kilbride, 6 ^ a parish 
situated in the barony of Kilcoursey, King s County, a church and convent 
are said to have been founded by St. Brigid. The people have a tradition, 
that this was the first church erected by her, after she became a professed 
religious, on the hill of Usney. Some remains of a chapel and of a con 
ventual establishment are to be seen ; and, fragments of the church, which 
remain in the contiguous cemetery, measure fifty-two feet in length, by 
twenty-four in width.? The parish of Oldcastle,? 1 in the barony of Demifore, 



55 A certain Mr. Carey, in 1657, was !i- mealh. This latter part is noted, on 
censed to preach at Bride s parish to the " Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for the 
Irish, " once every Lord s day ; and that he County of Westmeath." Sheets 24, 31, 
doe occasionally repair to Trim and Atbyc 32, 37, 38. 

(query) Athboy, to preach as aforesaid.". 6 - See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 

Very Rev. Richard Butler s " Some Notices Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 

of the Castle and of the Ecclesiastical Build- chap, xix., pp. 494, 497. 

ings of Trim, compiled from various autho- 6 3 Its position is marked, on the " Ord- 

rities," p. 160. nance Survey Townland Maps for the 

5 6 See it marked, on the " Ordnance Sur- County of Meath." Sheet 3. 
vey Townland Maps for the County of 64 See ibid. Sheets 3, 6. 

Meath." Sheets 30, 36. 6 = See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 

57 This, with the castle, is found on Sheet Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 
30. The townland is called Kilbride. chap, xvi., p. 295. 

58 This denomination, with Iskaroon Little, 6t> See it noted, on the "Ordnance Sur- 
will be found on Sheet 30. vey Townland Maps for the County of 

59 See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of Meath." Sheets 45, 51. 
Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 6 ? It is shown, on Sheet 45. 

chap, xvii., pp. 368, 369. 68 See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 

60 See "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., chap, 
for the County Westmeath." Sheet 24. xvi., pp. 313, 314. 

61 Ardnurcher or Horseleap parish is 6 * Its position is defined, on the " Ord- 
partly in the barony of Kilcoursey, King s nance Survey Townland Maps for the King s 
County, and this is shown on "Ordnance County." Sheets 2, 8. 

Survey Townland Maps for the King s ? See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 

County," Sheet 2 ; and partly in the Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 

barony of Moycashel, county of West- chap, xix., p. 496. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



199 



county of Meath, was dedicated to St. Bridgid.? 2 The church has been Ion* 
since levelled. In the graveyard are fragments of stone crosses and of 
ancient tombs.73 A holy well lies near the town of Oldcastle, but its patron s 
name is not recorded.?* (j n a hill called Carrick-Moile, in the parish of 
Lickbla,7S barony of Fore, and deanery of Mullingar, there is a well dedicated 
to St. Brigid. Here stations used to be held on her festival day.? 6 There 
was a church also called Kilbride, on the townland of Adamstown 7? but only 
a graveyard there remains.? 3 

There was^an ancient church of St. Brigid in Cork, close to St. Finbarr s 
Cathedral. No vestige of the church now remains ; but, an old burying- 
ground is there, and, for a considerable time, it had been used by the Ana 
baptists, of whom existed a few families. Now, these are extinct, or almost 
so, m Cork. Few people in this city knew of that little graveyard. We can 
have no doubt, but this church was dedicated to the great St. Brigid. 79 There 
was, also, a Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, a chapel, in Baile antobuir or Ballintober 
io in the diocese of Tuam, and province of Connaught. 81 There was 
a Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, near the town of Fethard, 82 in a parish of the 
same name, 8 -* diocese of Cashel, and province of Munster. 8 -* Besides these, 
Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, or " the cell of Brigid," a chapel in Kill-luckin 
parish, diocese of Flphin, and in the territory of Siol-Muiredhuigh, 8 s rejoiced 
m the glorious abbess as special patron. 6 The people, known by this name, 
were the O Conors of Magh Naoi,"? and their correlatives.^ Their territory 



71 Its position is marked, on the "Ord 
nance Survey Townlaml Maps for the 
County of Meath. " Slieets 9, 10, 15. 

72 A vast number of ancient forts lie with 
in this parish. 

7i See Rev. A. Cogan s " Diocese of 
Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 
chap, xvi., ]>. 334. 

74 See Map^, Sheet 9. 

73 Its extent is shown, on tlic " Ordnance 
Survey Townland Maps for the County of 
We>tmeath." Slieets I, 2, 3. Yet Car- 
rick-Moilc is not noted within it, on any of 
those Maps. 

70 See Rev. A. Cogan * "Diocese of 
Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., chap. 
xviii., and n. p. 400. 

77 There are two Adamstowns, in the 
county of \Yestmeath ; one, in the parish of 
Castletownkinclalen and barony of Moy- 
cashe!, and the other, in the parish of 
Conry, and barony of Rathconrath. See 
" Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for the 
County of "Westmeath." Sheets 25, 32. 

78 See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 
Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., chap. 
xviii., p. 418. 

79 Letter of Very Rev. Denis Canon 
MacSwiney, P.P., dated Feb. 1st, 1872, 
River View, Carrigaline, Co. Cork. 

&J There are two townlands called Ballin 
tober East and West, in the parish of Kilree- 
kill and barony of Leitrim. Sheet 98. 
There is a Ballintober, parish of Cummer, 
and barony of Clare. Sheet 57- There is 
a Ballintober, parish and barony of Kilcon- 
nell. Sheet 86. Again, there is a Ballin 
tober, parish of Killallaghtan, and barony 



of Kilconnell. See Sheet 86. "Ordnance 
Survey Townland Maps for the County of 
Gahvay." 

bl See Colgan, p. 625. 

82 See Sheet 70. 

; The town and parish so named are 
noted, on the "Ordnance Survey Town- 
land Maps for the County of Tipperary." 
Sheet 70. The parish is in the barony of 
Middlethird, and in the South Riding of the 
county. 

84 See Colgan, p. 625. 

* 3 The Siol or Sil-Muireadhaigh descended 
from Muireadhach Muilleathan, King of 
Connaught, who died in the year 701. See 
Dr. O Donovan s "Topographical Poems 
of John O Dubhagain and Ciolla na Naomh 
O J luidhrin," n. 231, p. xxxiii. 

6 J See Colgan, p. 624. 

7 The inhabitants of the town of Ros- 
common and of its vicinity, when speaking 
of the country generally, call that district, 
lying between them and Athlone, " the 
Barony, and that between them and EI- 
phin, "the Magery." They say you are 
not in the Magery, until you are two miles 
and a-half, north of Roscomraon town. See 
Dr. O Donovan s "Annals of the Four 
Masters," vol. iii., n. (h), p. 87. 

** After the establishment of surnames, 
they branched into various families and 
spread themselves over a considerable terri 
tory. These families were the MacDermots, 
MacDonoughs, O Beirncs, O Flanagans, 
Mageraghtys, O Finaghtys. Of all these 
ancient clans or septs, the O Conors were 
the most powerful. See ibid., vol. i., n. 
(i), p. 301. 



200 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



was known as Machaire-Chonnacht, 8 ? a large plain in the county of Ros 
common. 9 Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, in the territory of Gleanntachuir^ 1 in 
the diocese of Derry, and in the Ulster province,^ 2 was dedicated to St. 
Brigid. At Kilrnactalway,93 about eight miles from Dublin, one of the 
avenues from Castle Bagot demesne leads to the ruins of Kilbride chapel^ 4 
of which mention has already been more fully made, in a previous chapter. 
Again, Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, a chapel, in the parish of Bally an Chaly 
a denomination now unknown? 3 diocese of Tuam,? 6 was called after St. 
Brigid. There is a townland of Kilbride,97 in the parish and barony of 
Ross, county of Galway ; and, we find a townland, called Kilbride, 9 s in the 
parish of Bright,99 barony of Upper Lecale, county of Down. These places 
were sacred to St. Brigid. There are two townlands of Kilbride, respectively 
in the parishes of Aghade and Barragh, both in the barony of Forth, and 
county of Carlow. 100 There is a Kilbride townland, 101 in the parish of 
Abbeylara, barony of Granard, and county of Longford. There is a Kilbride 
townland, 102 in the parish, barony and county of Louth. There is a Kilbride 
townland, 103 in the parish and barony of Burrishoole, county of Mayo. There 
is another Kilbride townland, 104 in the parish of Mayo, barony, of Clanmorris, 
same county. Again, there is a Kilbride townland, 105 in the parish of Kil- 
cunduff, barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. There is a townland of 
Kilbride, in the parish of Cloncurry, baronies of Ikeathy and Oughterany, 
County Kildare. 105 There is a parish, called Pass of Kilbride, in the barony 



89 The following are its bounds, according 
to the general tradition of the Roscommon 
people. It extends northward as far as 
Lismacooil, in the parish of Kilmacumshy ; 
eastwards, to Falsk, in the parish of Kil- 
luckin ; westwards, from the bridge of 
Cloonfree, near Stokestown as far as the 
bridge of Castlerea ; and, southwards, to 
a hill, lying two miles and a-half, north of 
Roscommon town. The natives of Baslick 
parish call a hill, in the townland of Urisha- 
ghan in that parish, the navel or centre of 
the Machaire, or plain of Connaught. This 
conveys a distinct idea, regarding the posi 
tion of Magh Naoi. See ibid., vol. iii., n. 
(h), p. 88. 

90 It lay between the towns of Roscommon 
and Elphin, also between Castlerea and 
Stokestown. 

91 This was formerly called in Irish T)on i- 
riAc 5l/irme-coc<iii\. This particular denomi 
nation is now decompounded and preserved, 
partly in Donough, the name of the parish, 
and partly in Glentogher, otherwise Carrow- 
more, an extensive mountainous tract there 
in. This was the native parish of our great 
hagiologist, John Colgan. The church was 
founded by St. Patrick, and originally the 
place was called Domnach-mor Muighe- 
Tochuir. See Archbishop Cotton s "Visi 
tation of the Diocese of Derry, A. \>. 
MCCCXCVII." Edited by Rev. William 
Reeves, n. (v), p. 67. 

92 See Colgan, p. 625. 

93 See D Alton s "History of the County 
of Dublin, "p. 688. 

94 This Kilbride, near Clondalkin, was 
found to have had one cottage and one old 



chapel, worth yearly xu.d., according to 
the Inquisition of 38 Henry VIII. See 
William Monck Mason s " History and 
Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathedral 
Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin," c\;c., 
book i., chap. v. , p. 29. 

S3 Or, at least, not noticed, on the Ord 
nance Survey Maps. 

96 See Colgan, p. 624. 

9 ? See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Galway." Sheets 
13, 26. 

98 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Down." Sheet 45. 

99 This church stood in a field, now known 
as "Church Park," about three-quarters of 
a mile S.W r . of Killough. It was razed in 
1830, and little trace of it now remains. 
See Rev. Dr. Reeves "Ecclesiastical Anti 
quities of Down, Connor and Dromore," n. 

(t), P- 34- 

100 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Carlow. Sheets 
17, 1 8. 

101 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Longford." Sheet 
u. 

102 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Louth." Sheet 
ii. 

103 See "Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Mayo." Sheet 68. 

104 See ibid. Sheets 90, 91, 101. 

105 See ibid. Sheets 62, 72. 

106 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Kildare." Sheet 
4- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



201 



of Fartullagh, County Westmeath. 10 ? There is, also, as a separate denomina 
tion, the parish of Kilbride, in the same barony. 108 On the townland of 
Kilbnde, I0 9 it seems likely a church to St. Brigid had been erected. Already 
have we noticed, in a previous chapter, the parishes and townlands, called 
Kilbride, in the counties of Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford. 

It seems likely the following places were named after her : The Chapel 
Cill-brigde, or Kilbride, in Kildare deanery and diocese, province of Lein- 
The town of Kildare, in the middle of this diocese, is surrounded 
immediately by the deanery so named. 111 There is a parish of Kilbride, in 
the barony of Tirawley, county of Mayo ; 112 a townland in it bears the same 
name. 11 - There is a townland, called Kilbride, 11 * in the parish of Lea, 
barony of Portnahinch, Queen s County. There is a parish of Kilbride, iii 
the barony of Ballycowan, King s County ;s a townland of the same de 
nomination lies within it. 1 6 A very extensive parish, lying within the 
baronies of Ballintober South and of Roscommon, in the county of Ros- 
common. is denominated Kilbride. 11 ? In the barony of Ballintober North, 
in the parish of Kilmore, and in the same county, there is a townland called 
Kilbride. 118 Kill-brigde major, or Kilbride the greater, 11 ? and Kill-brigde- 
minor, or Kilbride the lesser, 120 parish churches of Limerick diocese, in 
Minister, were dedicated to St. IJrigid. 131 Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, some 
times called Temple Brigid, was a chapel in Armagh city and diocese, pro 
vince of Ulster. 122 To this, allusion has been more fully made, in a previous 
chapter. 15 Kill-brigde major, or Kilbride the greater, a parish church, and 
Kill-brigde minor, or Kilbride the lesser, a chapel, in Maglacha 124 district, 
diocese of Ossory, honoured St. Brigid as their special patroness. 125 There 
is a townland and parish of Kilbride, barony of Ida, in the county of Kil 
kenny. 120 There is also a townland of Kilbride, in the parish and barony of 
Callan, in the same county. 12 ? There is, in addition, a Kilbride Glebe there. 128 
Ik-sides these, we find a Kill-brigde, "9 or Kilbride, 1 ^ a parish church, 1 1 in 



" 7 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County nf Westmeath." 
Sheets 27, 33, 34. 

I0t! See ibid. Sheets 26, 33. 

1119 See ibid. Sheet 33. 

"" See Colgan, p. 624. 

111 See " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix 
Quinta ad Acta S. Brigida. 1 , cap. i., p. 628. 

113 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Mayo." Sheets 7, 
14. 

3 See ibid. Sheet 7. 

114 See it noted, on "Ordnance Survey 
Townland Maps for the Oueen s County." 
Sheets 4, 5, 8, 9. 

us ^ ee " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the Kind s County." Sheets 8, 9, 
1 6, 17, 25. 

16 See Sheet 16. 

117 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Roscommon." 
Sheets 28, 29, 35, 36, 39, 40. 

118 See ibid. Sheet n. 

" 9 Now called Kilbreedy major, in the 
baronies of Coshlea and Smallcounty, shown 
on the "Ordnance Survey Townland Maps 
for the County of Limerick." Sheets 39, 
40, 48. 

120 Now called Kilbreedy minor, in the 
barony of Coshma, shown on the "Ord 



nance Survey Townland Maps for the County 
of Limerick." Sheet 47. 

IJI See Colgan, p. 625. 
2 See Colgan, p. 625. 

121 It was near the old Catholic chapel 
still used. 

124 This was a plain, in the barony of 
Kells, and county of Kilkenny. See Dr. 
O Donovan s "Topographical Poems of 
John O Dubhagain and Giolla na Naomh 
O Huidhrin," n. 500, p. Ix. 

125 See Colgan, p. 625. 

1:6 See the "Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Kilkenny. " Sheets 
36, 40, 41. The townland is shown, on 
Sheets 40, 41. 

IJ7 See ibid. Sheet 26. 

128 See ibid. In the diocese of Ossory, 
Catholic chapels and localities, having St. 
Brigid as patroness, are, Kilbride, in Agha- 
boe parish, Ballycallan, Attanagh, Kilbride, 
near Callan, Kilbree, Kilbride, in Glenmore 
parish, and Lisdowney. See " Statuta Dio- 
cesis Ossoriensis edita Kilkennice in Synodo 
Diocesana Die 8 Junii, 1873," pp. 23 to 
29. 

-9 A Kilbride North and a Kilbride 
South, as townland denominations, are to 
be found here. 

130 This parish extension is shown, on the 



so2 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



the barony of Middlcthird, and in the deanery of Kill-mcathain, diocese and 
county of Waterford, and province of Minister. Kill-brigde, or Kilbride, 132 
a townland, 133 and a parish church, T 34 near the town and in the comity of 
Antrim, in the barony of Upper Antrim, 1 - 15 in the diocese of Connor and 
province of Ulster. In the same county is the townland of Kilbride, parish 
of Doagh Grange, 136 barony of Upper Antrim. 13 ? At the Glen of Kilbride, 
fourteen miles or so from Dublin, and bordering on, perhaps in, the county 
of Wicklow, there is a small church of Kilbride. Allusion has been already 
made to this place. The Catholic Church here, and attached to the parochial 
union of Blessington, is dedicated to St. Brigid. 

The following churches and chapels were dedicated to St. Brigid, in the 
barony of Forth, county of Wexford, about the year 1680. In the parish of 
Rathaspoke, and in that of Kilscoran, were her churches ; while, she had 
chapels at Sladd, a townland in the latter parish, as also at Trummer. 138 
This foregoing account is supposed to have been furnished, by a priest, for 
the purpose of illustrating Sir William Petty s Maps ; and, it purports to 
describe more at length the barony in question, with the dispositions and 
customs of its people. I3 9 Kilbrideglynn parish, 140 barony of Shelmaliere 
West, and county of Wexford, has a Tempull Cille-Brighde old graveyard 
within it. Kilnahue parish, I4 barony of Gorey, and county of Wexford, has 
a Kilbride Church and graveyard, within it. Not far from Carrigaline, in 
the County Cork, there was a Tempull Brigde. 142 Some old ruins are yet to 
be seen there, and a holy well dedicated to St. Brigid rises near. This was 
resorted to by the people, for the purpose of offering devotions, on the day 
of her festival. The custom has not yet entirely died out. 143 The ancient 
church was on the summit of a high hill, right over the sea, and a modern 
Protestant church now occupies the site. It is a notable land-mark for ships, 
as it stands at the entrance of Cork Harbour. W T e find a Templum S. Brigidce, 
Templebride, or Teampull Bride, 144 in Rosfinnglass village, Hy-Regain terri 
tory. 145 To this, as Rosenallis, allusion has been already made. Tempull- 
Brigde, 146 Templebride, or Teampull Bride, 14 ? a chapel in the parish of Kill- 
choirin, 148 diocese of Tuam. I4 9 Again, there is a Templum S. Brigidce, Tem- 

" Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for the I4 See its extent, on the " Ordnance Sur- 

County of Waterford." Sheets 17, 26. vey Townland Maps for the County of 

131 See Colgan, p. 625. Wexford." Sheets 36, 37, 41, 42. 

132 The parish boundaries and extent are "- 1 See its dimensions, on the "Ordnance 
shown, on the " Ordnance Survey Town- Survey Townland Maps for the County of 
land Maps for the County of Antrim." Wexford." Sheets 2, 5, 6, 7, II. 

Sheets 44, 45, 51. I4L> It is now called Templebreedy, in the 

133 See ibid. Sheets 45, 51. barony of Kerrycurrihy, East Riding of 

134 See Colgan, p. 625. Cork. Its position is marked, on the " Ord- 
133 In 1605, it was found in an Inquisition, nance Survey Townland Maps for the County 

that Kilbride was a parish, in the Tuogh of of Cork." Sheet 99. 

.Moylinny, consisting of thirteen townlands. I43 Information communicated in a letter, 

The old churchyard is in the townland of from Very Rev. Denis Canon M Swiney, 

Kilbride. See Rev. Dr. Reeves " Ecclesi- P.P., Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Feb. 1st, 

astical Antiquities of Down, Connor and 1872. 

Drornore," n. (c), p. 64. 144 This denomination is not marked on 

136 See ibid., n. (1), p. 67. the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

I3 ? See " Ordnance Survey Townland I43 See Colgan, p. 625. 

Maps for the County of Antrim." Sheet I46 Latinized, by Colgan, " Templum 

45. Brigidoe." 

138 See "Journal of the Kilkenny and I4 ? This denomination is not to be found 

South-East of Ireland Archaeological So- noted, on the Ordnance Survey Maps, at 

ciety." New series, vol. iv. , part i., pp. present. 

66, 68, and notes (3, 4), ibid. I4S By this name, it does not appear on the 

135 This paper has been edited, by Herbert Ordnance Survey Maps. 
F. Hore. ^ See Colgan, p. 625. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



203 



plebridc, or Teampull Bride/^a parish church in Waterford city and diocese. 1 ^ 
We find a Templum S. Brigidce, Templebride, or Teampull Bride,^ 2 a parish 
church, within the deanery of Claonadh, or Clane, diocese and county of 
Kildare. I5 3 Templum S. Brigidce, Templebride, or Teampull Bride, ^4 a 
chapel in the parish of Domhnach Padruig, or Donogh-Patrick, 1 " diocese of 
Tuam. J 5 6 Besides the foregoing, there is a Templum S. Brigidce, Temple- 
bride, or Teampul Bride, 1 ^ a chapel, in the parish of Athenry,^ diocese of 
Tuam, 159 and county of Gal\vay. 

Rath-brigde, l6 or Rathbride, 161 a chapel in Tully parish, barony of Offaly 
East, Kildare county and diocese, is likely to have been named after St. 
Brigid. Rath-brigde, or Rathbride, 162 a parish church, in Feraceall or Fear- 
call territory, 163 diocese of Meath, 16 -* as also Rath-brigde, or Rathbride, l6 5 a 
cha])el, in Kiennachta territory, 166 now the barony of Keenaght, 167 in the 
county and diocese of Deny, 163 are probably called after our saint. 

Tegh-Brigde, l6 9 which may be Anglicized, the house of Brigid," was a 
chapel, in the territory of Kinel-Fiachra, 1 " Westmeath county. It was probably 
so denominated, because some religious institute had been there erected, by or 
in honour of this holy abbess. Tegh-Brigde, in the territory of Moenmoya, 
afterwards called Claim Riocaird, 71 when the De Burgos possessed it, after 
the Anglo-Norman invasion. 17 - This Kilbride is probably identical with a 
place, in the parish of Abbeygormacan, barony of Leitrim, and county of 
Gahvay. 17 - 5 There was, also, a Tegh-Brigde, a parish church, in the territory 
of Siol Anmchadha/ 71 diocese of Clonfert. 173 In addition, the parish church 
of Enach-brigde, 1 ? 6 in the diocese of Clonfert, was dedicated to St. Brigid. 77 



l - a This denomination is not marked on 
the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

151 See Colgan, p. 625. 

^- This denomination is not so noted, on 
the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

J 5i See Colgan, p. 625. 

J 5 4 This denomination, at present, is not 
to be found on the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

55 Now Donaghpatrick, in the barony of 
Clare. See "Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Galway." Sheets 
28, 42. 

J 3 See Colgan, p. 625. 

=7 This denomination is not noticed on 
the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

s 8 This large parish lies in the baronies 
of Athenry, Clare and Dunkellin. See its 
extent, on Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Galway." Sheets 
57, 70, 71, 83, 84, 95, 96. 

5J See Colgan, p. 625. 

160 Latinized, by Colgan, "arxaut burgum 
Brigidnj," p. 625. 

161 This townland is shown, on "Ordnance 
Survey Townland Maps for the County of 
Kildare." Sheets 17, 18, 22, 23. 

l6 - This denomination cannot be found, at 
present, on the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

l6 It is said to have comprehended the 
baronies of Ballycowen and Ballyboy, the 
country of the O Molloys, in the King s 
County. See Harris Ware, vol. ii., "The 
Antiquities of Ireland," chap, vii., sect, i., 
p. 49. 

164 See Colgan, p. 625. 

16 5 This denomination, at present, is mis 



sing from the Ordnance Survey Maps. 

ly6 See John O Donovan s account of it, 
in the "Dublin Penny Journal," vol. i., 
No. 13, p. 103. It was called by this name, 
so early as the year 590. 

167 See some interesting notices of it, in 
Rev. Alexander Ross s " Statistical Account 
of the Parish of Dungiven," in William 
Shaw Mason s " Statistical Account or 
Parochial Survey of Ireland," vol. i., No. 
xiv., pp. 321, 322. 

168 See Colgan, p. 625. 

16 9 Latinized, by Colgan, " axles, sen, do- 
mus Brigida;," p. 625. 

170 It comprised the countries of O Molloy, 
now in the King s County, and of Mageo- 
ghegan, now the barony of Moycashel, in 
Westmeath, and it extended originally from 
Birr to the Hill of Uisneach. See Dr. 
O Donovan s "Annals of the Four Mas 
ters," vol. i., n. (e), p. 166. 

171 See Colgan, p. 625. 

I? - Its bounds enlarged or diminished with 
tiie fortune of wars. "However, the main 
parts of it comprehended the six baronies 
of Clare, Dunkcllcn, Longlirca, Kiltartan, 
A//itwyand Ldtrini." Harris Ware, vol. 
ii., "Antiquities of Ireland," chap, vii., 
sect, i., p. 52. 

" See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Gal way." Sheet 
1 06. 

*74 Or Ui-Anmchadha, a sept, occupying 
the barony of Longford, county of Galway, 
and the parish of Lusmagh, King s County, 
and east of the River Shannon. See Dr. 



204 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG1D. 



Although not recognisable, through denomination or derivation, yet the 
following parishes and localities are thought to have been placed under the 
patronage of the illustrious abbess of Kildare. Druim-dubhain, alias, Drum- 
damhain, a parish church, 1 ? 8 belonging to the diocese of Elphin, and within 
the territory of Tir-Oilill, 1 ^ now Tirerrill barony, in the county of Sligo. 
The parochial denomination seems obsolete. Kill-Salach, a parish, belonging 
to the diocese of Elphin, and in the territory of Airtheach. l8 This latter 
was comprised in the parish of Tibohine, 181 in Frenchpark barony, and 
county Roscommon. Kill-hiomann, a parish church, 182 belonging to the 
diocese of Elphin, and in the territory of Magluirg or Moylurg. This district 
was comprised within Boyle barony, 183 county Roscommon. Killgeuian, or 
Kilgefin, a parish church, 18 * in the diocese of Elphin, and within the territory 18 ^ 
and deanery of Tuatha. It lay to the west of Lough Ree, towards its northern 
part. 186 Kill-mhic-Eogain, or Ivilmacowen, 18 ? a parish belonging to the diocese 
of Elphin, in the territory of Cairbre, 188 which is now known as the barony 
of Carbury, County Sligo. Dysart, l8 9 Latinized Desertum, a parish church, 1 ? 
in the diocese of Elphin, territory of Tirmhaine, 1 ? 1 barony of Athlone, and 
province of Connaught. Ballintobber, 1 ? 2 a parish church, in the diocese of 
Elphin, province of Connaught. T 93 Besides the foregoing, the monastery or 
convent of Malach, or Moylagh, 194 for nuns of the Augustinian order, was 
situated in the diocese of Lismore, and county of Tipperary. 1 ? 3 It is in the 
baronies of Offa and Iffa. A chapel, formerly dedicated to St. Brigid, in the 
diocese of Ross, 1 ? 6 is said to have been placed in a churchyard, near a 
romantic salt-water lake, 1 ?? known as Lough Hyne, or Ine, 1 ? 8 in the south of 
Cork County. A curious pillar stone remains there. 99 



O Donovan s "Topographical Poems of 
John O Dubhagain and Giolla na Naomh 
O Huidhrin," p. xlv., n. 350. 

175 See Colgan, p. 625. 

176 It seems difficult to identify it by this 
denomination at present. 

177 See Colgan, p. 624. 

178 See Colgan, p. 625. 

179 See O Flaherty s " Ogygia," pars iii., 
cap. Ixxix. , p. 374. 

180 See Coigan, p. 625. 

181 See " The Topographical Poems of 
John O Dubhagain and Giolla na Naomh 
O Huidhrin." Edited by Dr. O Donovan, 
n. 253, pp. xxxv., xxxvi. 

I8i See Colgan, p. 625. 

183 For a very complete account of this 
division of Roscommon, the reader is re 
ferred to John D Alton s " History of Ire 
land and Annals of Boyle," vol. L, pp. 167 
to 283. 

184 See Colgan, p. 625. 

18 5 This district was composed of the divi 
sions, Tir-Briuin-na-Sinna, Cinel-Dobhtha, 
and Corca-Each-lann. See Dr. O Donovan s 
" Annals of the Four Masters," vol. iii., n. 
(d), p. 86. 

IS - See its position denned, on the map 
prefixed to the " Tribes and Customs of Hy- 
Many." Edited by Dr. O Donovan. 

187 g ee Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Sligo." Sheets 14, 
19, 20. 

188 See Colgan, p. 625. 



189 See " Ordnance Survey Townland 
Maps for the County of Roscommon." 
Sheets 47, 48, 50. 

190 See Colgan, p. 625. 

191 Probably intended for Hy-Many, and 
for information regarding it, Dr. O Donovan 
has edited for the Irish Archaeological So 
ciety, that interesting tract, The Tribes 
and Customs of Hy-Many, commonly called 
O Kelly s Country," A.D. MCCCXLIII. A 
Map, with its ancient Irish denominations 
in the native characters, is prefixed. 

192 Noted as a rectory, on Rev. D. A. 
Beaufort s "New Civil and Ecclesiastical 
Map of Ireland." 

193 See Colgan, p. 625. 

194 See Archdall s " Monasticon Hiberni- 
cum," p. 669. 

195 See Colgan, p. 625. 

195 See its position marked on Rev. D. A. 
Beaufort s "New Civil and Ecclesiastical 
Map of Ireland." 

197 "On an islet near its centre stand the 
ruins of a castle, which was formerly the 
secluded and romantic fastness of the 
O Driscolls." " Parliamentary Gazetteer 
of Ireland," vol. ii., p. 299. 

198 Interpreted " the deep lake." It lies 
south of Skibbereen. 

199 See Mr. and Mrs. Hall s "Ireland : its 
scenery, character," &c., vol. i., pp. 136, 
137. The descriptive matter is illustrated 
by an accompanying wood-engraving. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



In addition to the places named are these following. Kill-rossinty, or 
Kilrossanty, 200 a parish church, in the barony of Decics without Drum , be 
longing to the diocese of Lismore. 201 and county of Waterford. It had been 
dedicated to St. Erigid. Nor was our holy abbess undistinguished from 
other great Irish Saints, in the septi-partite group of churches having her as 
patroness. For, at the great bend of the River Suir, near Ardfinnan and 
Newcastle, County Tipperary, there is a place, called Molough Ehridge, or 
" Lrigid s Molough." It is said, that there were no less than seven churches 
or chapels there, at one time, and that these were dedicated to St. Erigid. 
The chieftain of the Decies probably had a residence there, or, at least, he 
had a property. 70 - Slieve g-Cua, near it, is mentioned in the Eook of Rights. 
It is in the parish of Tooraneena, county of Waterford. 20J In Kill-dara, 20 * a 
parish church, of Tuam diocese, in the territory of Costelach, province of 
Connaught, St. Brigid was patroness. It is different from Kildare, in 
Leinster. 20 = Uruim-na bfcadh, 206 a parish church, belonging to the diocese 
of Tuam, alias, Elphin, in the county of Roscommon, province of Connaught. 2 7 
Eesides, in Killchuanna, or Kilcoona, 203 a parish, in Clare barony and Galway 
county, diocese of Tuam, and province of Connaught, 20 ^ a church had been 
erected to St. Erigid. 

The following ancient wells were dedicated to St. Ericle, within the city and 
county of Dublin. In a court, off Bride-street, is her spring, now covered 
by a pump. Between the ivied ruins of St. Margaret s and Dunsoghly Castle, 
an ancient well, dedicated to St. Erigid, 210 is surrounded by a battlemented 
wall. 2 " At St. Margaret s, near Finglas, there is a tepid spring, and it is 
called St. Erigid s Well. At Clondalkin, there is a well dedicated to her. 
Here, also, there is a fine round tower in good preservation. 2 2 At Swords, 2I -> 
seven miles north from Dublin Castle, 2 4 and near the ancient nunnery, a 
well of St. Brigid was to be seen. Again, at Clonskeagh, 21 * there is a well of 
St. Brigid. At the Valley of Diamonds, near Bray, there is, likewise, a well 
of St. Brigid. At Castleknock, there was a well called after her. We are 
not sure if it yet exists. The place derives its name from an old castle, 
built in the reign of Henry II., on a hill. 210 Again, it is stated, on verbal 
authority, that there is a well, dedicated to St. Bride, near the ruins of the 
old Black Castle, on the sea-shore, not far from Wicklow town. 21 ? The well 
is in a very out-of-the-way place. In Killisk parish, 213 barony of Ballagh- 



"- It is marked on the "Ordnance Sur- County of Dublin. Uy John S. Sloane, 

\ey Townland Maps for the County of \Va- C.E., p. 219. 

tcrford. Sheets 14, 15, 23, 24, 31, 32. 2 " This was built by a Sir John Plunkett. 

- Jl See Colgan, p. 62 > 2I - See Joseph Archer s "Statistical Sur- 

"- See Rev. Dr. Kelly s "Calendar of vey of the County of Dublin," chap, v., sec. 

the Irish Saints," p. 134. i., p. 88. 

-> Information contained in a letter of ;ii See an account of this ancient place, 

Rev. David H. Mulcahy, Portglcnone, dated in John D Alton s " History of the County 

December iSth, 1875. of Dublin," pp. 26910297. 

- "* This denomination is not found on the " I4 See Joseph Archer s " Statistical Sur- 

Ordnance Survey Maps. vcy of the County of Dublin," chap, v., 

205 See Colgan, p. 625. sec. i., p. 96. 

e j}y t h; s t j t i C; t ] 10 p ar i s h does not ap- 2 5 Sec John D Alton s " History of the 

pear on the Ordnance Survey Townland County of Dublin," p. 808. 

Maps of Ireland. - I(J See Joseph Archer s "Statistical Sur- 

- - ? See Colgan, p. 625. vey of the County of Dublin," chap, v., 

08 Its extent is shown, on the "Ordnance sec. i., p. 88. 

Survey Townland Maps for the County of - 7 For the foregoing list, I feel indebted 

Galway," Sheets 42, 56. to Mrs. Anastasia O Byrne, authoress of 

- 09 See Colgan, p. 625. "The Saints of Ireland." 

=10 s ee i r i sn Literary Gazette, 1 vol. i., - l8 See its extent defined, on the "Ord- 

>*o. xiv. "Antiquarian Rambles in the nance Survey Townland Maps for the 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



keen, and county of Wexford, St. Brigid s Well may be seen. At Kilscoran 
parish, 21 9 in the barony of Forth and county of Wexford, there is a St. 
Brigid s Holy-Well. The pattern was formerly held on St. Brigid s day. 
This parish is supposed to have had her as the patroness. Besides this, at 
Rosslare parish, 220 barony of Forth, and county of Wexford, a holy well, 
called after St. Braagh (Brathoach) said by the people to be no other than St. 
Brigid is to be found. Again, there is a Toberbride, or Brideswell, in the 
parish of Ballysadare, and barony of Tirerrill. 221 We find mention, too, of 
Tobar-Brigde, near Cuilmuine, in the county of Sligo. 222 St. Brigid s Well, 
at Rostyduff, a snug little place under Keadeen mountain, in the county of 
Wicklow, had a " patron," which used to be held in the early part of this 
century, on the ist of February. 223 There is a Tobar-Brigde, in the village 
of Ballintobber, and county of Roscommon. 22 * There is another Tobar- 
Brigde, 225 in the territory of Maincach. A Tobar-Brigde, in the county of 
Longford, near the town, and in the diocese of Ardagh, 226 appears to have 
been named after St. Brigid. In Killila parish, 22 ? barony of Ballaghkeen, 
and county of Wexford, was St. Brigid s Well. A pattern was held on ist 
of February, at this spot. We have, also, learned, that at, or near, Kil- 
cock, in the county of Kildare, a patron used formerly be held at Bride s 
Well, on the ist of February. Stations were there performed. In the town- 
land of Ballincurrig, parish of Buttevant, and county of Cork, St. Brigid s 
Well may be seen. A large ash-tree hangs over it, and it is popularly called 
Biddy s Tree. No special " pattern" or honour to the patroness is now paid, 
at this spot. 228 However, " rounds " or stations still take place there. In 
Hy-Kinsellagh, province of Leinster, there was a well, bearing the name 
Tobar-Brigdhe, and another in Tuam. 22 ^ Both of these springs were much 
resorted to, when the feast-day of St. Brigid occurred. There is a Tober 
bride or Brideswell, in the parish of Dunleeney, barony of Idrone East, and 
county of Carlow. 230 A celebrated spring, known as " Bride s Well," had 
been much frequented on the feast of St. Brigid : it flowed from the side of 
a. circular mound, about two miles and a-quarter, north-west from Kilcock, 
in the deanery of Trim, and county of Meath. An ash-tree spreads its 
branches over the stream. The diameter of the well is over twelve feet. 
Nearly all the females of this neighbourhood bear the name of their patron 
saint. 231 Besides the foregoing, there was a reputed miraculous well of St. 
Brigid, on the estate of Cornelius O Brien, Esq., of Birchfield, in the county 
of Clare. This well contained a large eel, and eleven smaller ones, which 
appeared periodically, according to a popular tradition. 232 Its waters were 
remarkably clear and cool, but they were never used for domestic purposes. 



County of Wexford." Sheets 26, 27, 32, -- 3 Latinized by Colgan, "fons ErigkUc," 

33- P- ^ 2 5- 

- 1 It is included, in the " Ordnance Sur- : ~ 6 See Colgan, p. 625. 

vey Townland Maps for the County of -^ See its delineation, on "Ordnance 

Wexford." Sheet 48. Survey Townlands Maps for the County of 

2 - Its bounds are contained, within the Wexford." Sheets 27, 33. 

" Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for the :28 Information communicated by Mr. 

County of Wexford." Sheets 38, 43, 48. Denis A. O Leary, Kilbolane Cottage, 

- See "Ordnance Survey Townland Charleville, April 1 7th, 1875, to the writer. 

Maps for the County of Sligo." Sheet 26. 229 See Colgan, p. 625. 

2 - z See Colgan, p. 625. " =3 See it marked, on the "Ordnance 

223 See an article, " Uonoughmore in Survey Townland Maps for the County of 

Omayle,"byJ. F. S., in "The Irish EC- Carlow." Sheet 16. 

clesiastical Record," vol. xii., No. cxxxiv., 2jl See Rev. A. Cogan s "Diocese of 

p. 134. Meath, Ancient and Modern," vol. ii., 

" 4 See Colgan, p. 625. chap, xvii., p. 361. 



LIFE OF ST. BRTGID. 



The well was a famous ^resort for pilgrims, especially for those hoping to 
have cures effected. Whoever was fortunate enough to see the eels was 
instantaneously cured. Through O Brien s lawn, free access to the well was 
easily obtained. Popular tradition has it, that the water was desecrated on 
one occasion. 2 33 Immediately it removed during the night to a great dis 
tance. A member of the O Brien, family, to commemorate a miraculous 
cure," 3 -* had a beautiful wall built around St. Brigid s Well. The enclosure 
was elegantly planted, and the place was even "furnished with stables, for 
the accommodation of pilgrims. 

Some ancient religious institutions were under her patronage. A hermitage 
was dedicated to St. Bride, by the Knights Hospitallers of Kilmainham. It 
was situated near Waterford. Again, at Carrickfergus, there was an hospital 
for lepers. The adjoining lands are yet called the Spiral Fields. The 
hospital was dedicated to St. Brigid. At the north side of Carrickfergus, a 
spring, called St. Bride s Well, marks the site of an hospital, also dedicated 
to St. Brigid. We find an hospital for lepers was dedicated to St. Erigid, in 
the town and parish of Dungarvan,- ^ barony of Decies without Drum, 
situated within the diocese of Lismore, 2;6 and county of Waterford. Besides, 
there was an hospital for lepers, within the diocese and town of Lismore,~J7 
province of Munster, dedicated to St. Brigid. 2 -- She seems to have been the 
peculiar patroness of such afflicted persons. 

There are various localities or objects, named from St. Bride, in the 
county of Dublin. Among these we find:-- In the ancient church of St. 
Mochua, at Clondalkin, one of its three altars was dedicated to her. 2 39 
Bride s Glen, near Cabinteely, eight or nine miles from Dublin ; the River 
Bride, a tributary to the Liffey. is thought to derive its name from Ireland s 
great patroness; Kilbride .Manor, near the (lien of Kilbride, which borders 
on Sally Gap, near the source of the Liffey, is called after her ; while, the 
demesne, called St. Brigid s, at Clonskeagh, or Roebuck, is said to derive its 
name from her. - -* Also, the Breeda or .Bride River, is a tributary of the 
Lee, 241 in the county of Cork. The Abbey of Kilcrea, 2 -* 2 occupies a retired 



i2 The matter of this and of the stibse- ~v The united parishes of Lismore and 

quenl narrative was communicated by Rev. Mocollop arc situated, partly within the 

J ). 1!. Mulcahy, in a h-tter, headed Lough county of Cork, in the barony of Condons 

Cill, North Antrim, 2nth April, 1875. and Clangibbon, as shown on the " Ord- 

J! It happened, that O Hrien had a large nance Survey Townland Maps for the County 

dinnerparty, and in the hurry of prepara- of Cork," .Sheets 36, 37 ; and, partly with- 

tion, one of the servants took water to boil in the county of Waterford, in the baronies 

potatoes from this well. The dinner was of Coshmore and Coshbride, as shown on 

late. O lirien enquired the cause. The the " Ordnance Survey Townland Maps for 

potatoes he found were not boiled. The the County of Waterford," Sheets II, 12, 

lire was stirred and blown under, but the 19, 20, 21, 28, 29, 34. 

servants blew to no purpose. As a last re- - 1;3 Sec Colgan, p. 625. 

sort the pot was examined, when lo ! there ~ n See William Monek Mason s " His- 

was found one of the younger ells. It was tory and Antiquities of the Collegiate and 

reverently taken back to the well, and a Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, near Dub- 

solemn admonition was given to the servants. lin," <!vc. , book i., chap, v., p. 27. 

This was unnecessary, for that night the well - 4 " For the foregoing list, I am indebted 

disappeared. to Mrs. Anastasia O Byrne. 

" 4 He lay ill in London, and his life was - 4I See John Windale s "Historical and 

despaired of, by several doctors. Yet, he Descriptive Notices of the City of Cork and 

had some water procured from St. Brigid s its vicinity ; Gougann-Barra, Glengariff, 

Well, which at once restored him to health. and Killarney, " p. 257. 

235 See " Ordnance Survey Townland L 4 - Sec an admirable account of its style 

Maps for the County of Waterford." Sheets and history, at pp. 259 to 270, ibid. Two 

30, 31, 35, 36. engravings of the ruins are there to bo 

2 -s 6 See Colgan, p. 625. seen. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



and a beautiful situation, on a green bank along it, and at the extremity of a 
long valley, which stretches several miles to the west. It was dedicated to 
St. Bridget, 243 and probably its River Bride was called after her. In addi 
tion, we may observe, there is a very curious object, called St. Brigid s 
Stone, 244 to be seen at Killinagh, near Bantry, in the county of Cork. 
This is a five-holed Bullaun rock, containing oval-shaped stones in each 
cavity. 245 We find a Saint Brigid s Chair, at Lough Berg. There is an old 
monument, inscribed with a cross, in the churchyard of Kilbride, county of 
Wicklow. 246 There is, also, an old stone, with several incised crosses, found 
at Faughart old church, county Louth. 24 ? This is called St. Brigid s 
Stone, owing to some supposed association with her. 

Several modern churches, chapels, and religious institutes, have St. Brigid 
as patroness. The new parochial church of Kilcullen, as we have already 
seen, has been dedicated to her. In addition, as has been stated, Kildare 
town has a Catholic church and a nunnery, under her protection. Through 
out the diocese of Kildare are other religious edifices, holding her as the 
patroness ; but, it is to be regretted, a complete list of her Irish churches 
and chapels cannot be known. 248 The Catholic church of Kilbride, parish 
of Dunganstown, not only occupies the site of a very ancient church dedicated 
to our saint, but, it yet rejoices in her, as its special patroness. Near the 
old church ruins 24 ^ and churchyard of Kilbride, not far from Blessington, a 
Catholic chapel, in the village, has been dedicated to St. Brigid. 

The new Catholic church near Carrigaline, county of Cork, has been 
dedicated to St. Brigid. About half a mile from old Temple Brigde, 250 and 
separated from it by a valley, in which lies St. Brigid s Well, the new erection 
overlooks the village of Crosshaven. 251 It is beautifully placed, at the con 
fluence of the rivers Ownboy and Lee a spot of which Callanan, the poet 
sings, 

" Where calm Avon Buee seeks the kisses of Ocean." " S2 

The church is over 100 feet long by forty-eight wide. It consists of nave, 
chancel, aisles, clerestorey, tower, sacristy, and porch. Built in the Gothic 



4i A beautiful poem, intituled, The Fourth series, July, 1875, No. 23, pp. 459, 

Monks of Kilcrea," alludes to this founda- 460. 

tion, and to its hospitable inmates during 246 There is a rough drawing of it, among 

mediaeval times : G. V. du Noyer s " Antiquarian Sketches" 

preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, ISo. 

" T\v;is common then 77, vol. i. 

For pilgrims to flock to St. Brigid s shrine. - 47 See /</., Xo. 78. 

So they placed on the table pitchers of L 43 It would be very desirable, that our 

wine, " Irish Catholic Directory, Almanack, anil 

Game from the mountain and meat from the Registry" contained the patron saints names 

pen. of our parishes, churches, chapels and reli 
gious houses. By a rightly directed effort, 

Fytte II., stanza i. Also, n. (a), p. the information could readily be obtained, 

151. by the editor or publisher. 

244 A very remarkable and venerated well, 249 These scarcely rise above the earth at 

dedicated to St. Brigid, and lately covered present. 

by a stone building, may be seen close -* Now known as Templebreedy. 

by. =SI See it represented, on the "Ordnance 

" 4 5 See a fuller account of it, with an il- Survey Townland Maps for the County of 

lustration, in William F. Wakeman s paper, Cork." Sheet 99. It is in the parish of 

"On Certain Markings on Rocks, Pillar Templebreedy, and barony of Kerrycurrihy, 

Stones, and other Monuments, observed East Riding of Cork county. 

Chiefly in the County Fermanagh." "Jour- !5 - See "The Poems of J. J. Callanan," 

nal of the Royal Historical and Archaeolo- p. 67. 
gical Association of Ireland," vol. iii. 



LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



209 



decorated style, its windows have geometric tracery. The chancel window 

[ghts, the western one is spherico-triangular. At the eastern and 

western ends of aisles are spherical windows, and there are also side chancel- 

jsides the western entrance, the tower serves as a porch, and it is 

ced ior effect on the north side, a little higher up than midway, and it 

e the great entrance usually. The aisles are separated from the nave 

by rows of circular red marble columns, with Bath-stone caps for carving 

I he church is all built externally of limestone-ashlar, while the windows and 

dressings are finely chiselled. 25 AS yet, the tower has only reached its lower 

tory, but the other portions of this fine building, internally and externally, 

have nearly reached completion. 25 -* 



1 1 far tut <ur fr tin fflt ft ft .ft ft fr fa & fr 1\ 




Church of the Assumption, of St. Michael, of St. Patrick, and of St. Brigid, Wexford. 

The beautiful new Church of the Assumption, 2 ^ King s-street, Wexford, 
has also been dedicated to St. Michael, St. Patrick, and St. Bridget, as joint 
patrons. 256 The grounds, on which the new church stands, are in part on the 
site of the ancient cemetery, attached to St. Brigid s old church, which, ac 
cording to local tradition, formerly stood there. 23 ? An adjoining street is 
called Bride-street, at the present time, and its name seems to have been de 
rived from the early ecclesiastical structure to which it led. 



253 Communication from Very Rev. Denis 
Canon M Swiney, P.P., headed River View, 
Carrigaline, Co. Cork, dated Feb. 1st, 
1872. 

~ 54 Communication from Very Rev. Denis 
Canon M bwiney, dated, January 51!), 
1876. 



53 The first stone was laid June 27th, 
1851. This church was opened for public 
worship, April iSth, 1858. 

5 J The accompanying engraving of it, by 
Mrs. Millard, was executed after a photo 
graph, locally prepared in Wexford. 

25 ? Human remains have been disinterred 



LIFE OF ST. RIGID. 



The Sisters of Mercy Convent, Rathdrum, 253 county of Wicklow, has been 
dedicated to St. Brigid, by permission of his Eminence Cardinal Cullen. 2 S9 
This appears from the parish registers. 

After the beginning of the present century, a religious community of 
Brigitine nuns was established in Ireland. This is a most useful institute, 
for the peculiar wants of our country and, it has been in highly successful 
operation, from the very commencement of its inauguration. The first con 
vent of St. Brigid was founded in Tullow, county of Carlow, by the Right 
Rev. Dr. Delany, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, on the ist of February, 
1807, as also, the Convent of St. Brigid, in Mountrath, on the iSth of April, 
1809. Besides these, the Convent of Tullow has sent out two affiliations, 
one to Abbeyleix, in the Queen s County, A.D. 1842, and one to Goresbridge, 
County Kilkenny, A.D. 1858. Of late, another branch has been established 
at Paulstown, not far from the latter place, and within the same county. All 
of these houses are situated in the diocese of Leighlin. The Brigitine nuns 
have adopted a constitution and rules, which tend greatly to promote charity, 
piety, and religious knowledge, in every parish, where their institute has been 
established. They gain over many of the humble people to a life of peni 
tence. Holding lighted tapers in their hands, they make a solemn declara 
tion and dedication of themselves, on each feast of St. Brigid. 26c This order 
has been established for educational purposes, and, it has three schools in 
constant operation, under each community ; a poor school, a benefit school, 
and a boarding-school. The teaching of poor children and adults on Sundays 
and holy days, in the parish church to which their convent belongs, is a special 
rule of this order. 261 

The house and chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Faith, at Glasnevm, 
diocese of Dublin, are under the patronage of St. Brigid. In the beginning 
of 1857, a Ladies Association of Charity, under the zealous and self-denying 
Miss Aylward, had been formed to rescue from proselytism Catholic children 
exposed to danger. An admirable system was adopted, for placing these 
with Catholic families, until they could be educated and provided with means 
for earning an honest livelihood. St. Brigid was chosen as patroness of this 
good work. When the orphanage was begun, no one dreamt of establishing 
a new community to take charge of it. On the contrary, great efforts were 
made to avoid anything of the sort : but, Providence made use of those very 
efforts to accomplish His will. After some trials and much labour, two or 
three ladies associated themselves, 262 to examine cases of proselytism tc 
rescue those orphans in greatest danger of losing the faith, to make clothes 
for them, and to superintend their rearing and education. This little seed, 
cast upon the earth by a seeming accident, took root and grew, 
ciates in 1867 numbered twenty-two. These ladies are united by the sacred 
bonds of religion, under the title, Sisters of the Holy Faith. 2 ^ The Cardinal 

there, when improvements were effected in P.P., granted May 3<Dth 1869. _ 
the entourage of the new church, which, * See "The Life of St. Brigid, "by an 
with its twin sister, the Church of the Im- Irish Priest, chap, xui., pp. l4 to l f>7- 
maculate Conception and of St. John Bap- = 6 < Much of the foregoing information, re 
list, has been erected by the respected parish garding the Brigitine Nuns, was kindly 
priest Very Rev. James Canon Roche, as communicated, by the Superioress of Mount- 
enduring monuments of his indomitable la- rath Convent, Sister Mary J. Peter Stem, 
bour and pious zeal for the greater glory of in a letter, addressed to the writer, A.I). 
God * ^6. 

*58 The extent of this parish, in the barony 62 In the house No. 42 Eccles-street, 

of BalHnacor North, is shown on the " Ord- Dublin. 

nance Survey Townland Maps for the County ^ See : " Eleventh Annual Report of S. 

of Wicklow." Sheets 24, 29, 30, 35- B g ld s Orphanage for Five Hundied Chil- 

=59 At request of Rev. Richard Galvm, dren, p. 8, A.D. 1567. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



211 



is greatly fostered and aided this institute, sanctioned 
x - ins IX. His Eminence, finding that the house in 
Kcdes-street ivas too small for the sisters that taught in their schoo" sen" 
^ . 1 T CMd the r f digi , OUS LadieS f the S -^ Heart, in Glasnevt Con- 
.f:^SfrJ a ES f ,! his h , m -. w - -" Quired The 



* T ated - Jt 1S not to much to sa y> 

- AlmS. A TI f? 6 a ;. Glasncvin > is on e of those spots, fashioned by 
. Almighty Architect for religious exercises.-* The River Tolka separates 
convent grounds from the charming Botanical Gardens.** The whole 
:ene is redolent of literary, patriotic, and above all, of religious associations. 
ln c great abbess, the orphanage of St. Brigid was founded, 

igh her influence and prayers it has nourished. During the past 
.c een years, this noble institute has saved from proselytism the immense 
number of one thousand three hundred and seventy Catholic orphans, 
therwise, humanly speaking, these should have been lost to the Church 
Under her influence also, the schools of the Holy Faith have, so to speak, 
from the orphanage ; and, as a matter, almost of necessity, to take 
.rge oi these works, the Sisters of the Holy Faith have grown up, a new 
amily, in the Church. Besides managing the orphanage, these ladies have 
:en schools, with a daily attendance of one thousand four hundred poor 
t must seem a strange thing, that the former grounds and resi- 
f a distinguished Protestant Bishop of Kildare should become the 
Brigid, Patroness of Kildare. In truth, it appears to be the 
St. Brigid s work within two short miles of the General Post 
ce, Dublin, and yet the situation is completely rural. Here, those Sisters 
Holy I-aith, that teach the poor schools in the lanes of the city, can 
t evening to breathe, and acquire strength and buoyancy for their 
1 here is no harder strain on mind and body, than the daily toil 
Here, it shall please God, a band of apostolic teachers can be 
lined to defend the faith of poor children, and impart, with knowledge, a 
love of virtue. Here, then, St. Brigid ; s spirit will rest, and religious teachers 
likely to grow up under her patronage. These good ladies will devote 
hemselves to the instruction and sanctification of poor children, in the 
capital of holy Ireland ; hereafter, their mission may extend to more distant 
places. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

CHURCHES AND RF.Ur.iQUS INSTITUTES DEDICATED TO SI . BRIGID, IN THE BRITISH 
ISLANDS, IN ANCIENT AND MODERN TIMES, AS ALSO ON THE CONTINENT OF 
EUROPE, AND IN AMERICA FESTIVALS, COMMEMORATIONS, OFFICES, HYMNS, 
RELICS, USAGES, AND POPULAR MEMORIALS, REFERRING TO HER CONCLUSION. 

IN England, Wales and Scotland, as also in minor islands around their 
coasts, 1 the fame and virtues of St. Brigid had spread, even from very re- 

4 Much of the foregoing and succeeding from the earliest accounts to the present 

information was kindly communicated to the time," &c., as compiled by J. Warburton, 

writer, by Miss Ayhvard, the Lady Supe- Rev. J. Whitelaw, and the Rev. Robert 

rioress, and foundress of the Sisters of the "Walsh, are some interesting views, with a 

Holy J aith. very complete description of the Botanic 

> bee " Ninth Annual Report of St. Gardens, at Glasnevin. See vol. ii., pp. 

Brigid s Orphanage for Five Hundred Chil- 1279 to 1304. 

dren," p. 20, A. D. 1865. CHAPTER xvn. x See " Martyrologium 

" lu the " History of the City of Dublin, Anglicanum," ad I. Februarii. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



mote times. 2 Many parts of England had churches dedicated to St. Brigid.3 
In the city of London, Fleet-street, St. Bride s Church was celebrated in old 
Catholic times, nor has the parochial designation yet disappeared. This 
church was extant in the seventeenth century. A very elegant spire sur 
mounts the present Protestant church ; but, it had been injured by lightning, 
in 1805.4 Near its site, Fleet-street, London, in the fourteenth century and 
in the reign of Edward III., stood the palace of St. Bride. It had been 
built, in the vicinity of St. Bride s Well. It is supposed, the present Bride 
well occupies this site. Edward III. had a daughter, named Brigid, who 
became a nun.s At Glastonbury, as we have already observed, a St. Brigid 
was venerated at the ist of February ; however, it is thought, she must have 
been different from our holy abbess, and that her real festival may have been 
assigned incorrectly to the present date. 6 In the litany of the very ancient 
church of Salisbury, Wiltshire, her name was specially invoked. There is a 
parish, called Kirkbride, in the Isle of Man. The only nunnery in the same 
place was called after St. Brigid. It is said to have been founded by our 
holy virgin,? in the beginning of the sixth century. 8 It lay near Douglas, 
beside the river, in a beautiful situation, and its prioress was anciently a 
baroness of the Isle of Man. She held courts in her own name, and 
possessed authority equal to a baron. 9 

Several places in Scotland, 10 especially nearest to Ireland, and subjected to 
Irish influences, 11 are enumerated, as having been under our saint s patronage. 
Among those are the Hebrides, anciently called Bride s or Brigid s Islands, 
as has been thought from our St. Bride. 12 Excluding, perhaps, the nuns at 
Kildare, no others, excepting the inhabitants of those western isles, dedicated 
more churches to her. Thus, their veneration was expressed and perpetuated. 13 
The Hebrideans imagined, however, that her remains reposed at Abernethy,^ 
the Pictish capital. When the Scots annexed the Pictish ^territories to their 
own, they paid a singular homage to the relics of St. Brigid, in Abernethy. 15 
We are told, one of the Hebrides was called after her, and specially deno- 

- John Macpherson, evidently no great arii. We have already shown how this 

admirer of St. Brigid, writes :" The several mistake originated. 

divisions of .Britain concurred very zealously 8 The Manx think, she received the veil 

with Ireland, the country that gave her of virginity from St. Maughold, fourth 

birth, in treating her character with a most bishop of their island. 

superstitious respect." "Critical Disserta- 9 See George Woods "Account of the 

tions on the Origin, Antiquities, Language, Past and Present State of the Isle of Man, 

Government, Manners and Religion of the book i., chap, ix., pp. 112, 113. 

Ancient Caledonians, their posterity the I0 See Rev. Thomas Lines "Civil and 

Picts, and the British and Irish Scots." Ecclesiastical History of Scotland," book 

Dissertation xv., p. 239. ii., p. 128. 

3 So states the English Martyrology, when "See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of 
alluding to St. Brigid, at the ist of Febru- Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

al y. I2 See John Macpherson s " Critical Dis- 

4 See CasselFs "Illustrated Guide to sertations on the Origin, Antiquities, Lan- 
London." The Churches of London, p. guage, Government, Manners, and Religion 
132. London, 1862, 8vo. of the Ancient Caledonians, their posterity 

s Much of the foregoing information was the Picts, and the British and Irish Scots." 
kindly communicated by a talented lady, Dissertation xv., p. 240. _ ^ 
Mrs. AnastasiaO Byrne, living in Ranelagh, I3 Ibid., p. 239. Also, Hector Boetms 
near Dublin, and quite conversant with the " Scotorum Histories, a prima Gentis On- 
traditional and historic lore of her country. gine," lib. ix., p. 158. 

6 See Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga." I4 See an account of it, in Mackenzie E.G. 

Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. Walcott s " Scoti-Monasticon : The Ancient 

xv., p. 624. Church of Scotland," pp. 316, 317. 

y The Manx have a tradition, that she IS See Hector BoetW _ Scotorum His- 

lived for some time in their island. See torice, a prima Gentis Origine," lib. ix. 
" Martyrologium Anglicanum, " I. Febru- 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



mmated Bngidiana. 6 Indeed, throughout the whole west and sou h of 
Scotland, 1 ? veneration towards her was unbounded. St. Bride was the patron 
saint of the noble family of Douglas, 13 and they invoked her help on all im 
portant occasions. >a The church of Douglas also bears her name. 20 Her 
temples among the Hebrideans were more numerous than such as had been 
erected to any of their other saints. 21 Among well-known Scottish localities, 
a scarped upburst of trap-rock out of the surrounding red sand-stone, and 
not far from the Laws, 1 2 in Lorfarshire, is known as St. Bride s Ring, at Kin- 
genny. 2 3 The Church of St. Brigide de Blacket is noticed, in the Chartulary 
of Holyrood. 2 -* The Church of St. Brigid of Kype is mentioned in the Char 
tulary of Kelso ; 2 5 and in that of Glasgow, 2 3 the Church of Vn ntcrtonugcn, in 
Valle de Xiht. 2 ? In Aberdeenshire, we have St. Bride s Rock, at Tomantoul. 
"He find St. Bride s Church, at Cushnie, 28 at Crochaul, 1 - at Kildrummlc,3 
and at Skene.3 1 In Lanarkshire, there is a place, called Last Kilbride, 
about seven miles from Glasgow.3 2 Its ancient church belonged to the 
bishops of that city.33 Likewise, there is a remarkable enclosed barrow, 
which occupied the summit of one of the Cathkin hills, in the parish of 
Kilbride.- ; 4 An interesting account of this parish has been written. 33 We 
learn, also, that St. Bride was honoured at Auchtergaven, and at the romantic 
Blair Athol,3 in Perthshire, on the other side of the Drtimalban.37 Again, 
a church was consecrated to St. Brigid at Dunnottar, A.D. i394, 3S according 
to Bishop Lorbes.3 J Besides the foregoing, St. Bride s Chapel and burn are 

16 See Mrs. Anastasia O Byrne s " Saints 
of Ireland." February i., p. 15. 

17 Macpherson says he has "reason to 
suspect, that the western isles of Scotland 
were, in some one period or other during 
the reign of popery, put under the particu 
lar protection of St. Bridget, and perhaps 
in a great measure appropriated to her." 
" Critical Dissertations on the Origin, An 
tiquities, Language, Government, Manners, 
and Religion of the Ancient Caledonians, 
their posterity the Picts, and the British and 
Irish Scots." Dissertation xv. , p. 240. 

15 In connexion with the family of Dou 
glas, we read the following lines, in reference 
to their great patroness : 



" The folk upon the Sonounclay 

Held to Saynct Bridis Kyrk thair way ; 

And thai that in the Castell war 

Ischyt owt, both les and mar, 

And went thair palmys for to ber." 
"The Bruce ; or, The Metrical History 
of Robert I., King of Scots," by Master 
John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen. 
liuke Fcyrd, 11. 335 to 339, vol. i. .Edited 
by John Jamieson, D. D. 

l J See Cosmo limes "Sketches of Early 
Scottish History and Social Progress," 
chap, i., pp. 137, 138. 

-- See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 291. 

- 1 See Hector Boetius " Scotorum His 
toric, a prima Gentis Origine," lib. ix., p. 
I 5 S. 

22 The word "Law is an Anglo-Saxon 
prefix or suffix, signifying an isolated hill or 
mount, generally of a conical form. See 
" The Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland," vol. 



11., p. 305. 

23 See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

24 See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 291. lie quotes p. 
42, and again at p. 57, St. Brigule s of Lou- 
blacket is recorded. 

" 5 1 agt: 153- 

:0 One of the most complete and satisfac 
tory of modern historical works is "The 
History of the City of Glasgow," by Rev. 
Dr. J. F. S. Gordon. 

27 See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 291. 

L8 See " View of the Diocese of Aber 
deen." Collections for the History of the 
Shires of Aberdeen and Banff. Spaulding 
Club, p. 593. 

- > Ibid., p. 642. 

30 Ibid., p. 589. 

31 Ibid., p. 279. 

3 - See " Xew Statistical Account of Scot 
land," Lanark, p. 877. 

33 See "The Imperial Gazetteer of Scot 
land," vol. ii., p. 188. 

34 See Daniel Wilson s " Archeology and 
Prehistoric Annals of Scotland," chap, iii., 

PP- 55, 5 6 , /I- 

33 L re s "HistoryofRutherglenanclK.il- 
bricle." 

3 J See an account of this parish in "The 
Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland," vol. i., 
pp. 172, 173. 

37 See " New Statistical Survey of Scot 
land." Perth, p. 426. 

38 Seejervise s "Memorials of Angus," 
p. 448. 

3 J See "Kalendars of Scottish Saints," 
p. 291. 



214 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



to be seen, at Kilbarchan, in Renfrewshire/ Again, there is a spring of St. 
Bride, at Traquair/ 1 Also, we find St. Brigid s or Bride s Spring at Dunsyre 
in Lanarkshire/ 2 There is a Kilbride, in Lorn, This wildly beautiful dis 
trict of Argyleshire 44 is said to have derived its name from Labhrin or Loarn/s 
Also, St. Bride s Chapel and Well were at Beath in Ayrshire/ 6 Here 
there is a parish called Kilbride/? The lands of S. Brydehill, in Dumfries 
shire, * 8 are noted, in the Retours/9 There is a Kilbride, in Arran. There 
is a Kilbride, in Cromarty. There is a Kilbride, in Uist.s St. Bride had 
a chapel at Rothesay^ 1 a royal burgh, in Bute.s 2 In the parish of Kilmoire, 
in Bute," a convent had been erected to St. Bride.54 There was a St. Bride s 
Church, at Kirkcolm,ss at Kirkmabreck, in Wigtonshire. 55 This is situated, 
on the western side of Lough Ryan, entering Stranraer. The dedication of 
St. Bride is found in the Lewes,57 at Borve.s 8 Besides this, at the remote 
Orcadians? extremity of Scotland, St. Bride s dedication is found in Stronsay 
and Papa, 60 in the Orkney Islands. 61 There, our saint is associated with St. 
Nicholas. 62 Again, the Church of St. Brigid, in the province of Athol, was 
reputed as being famous for miracles. 6 3 We are told, that fairs were held in 
St. Bride s honour, at Forres and Inverness. 6 * We read, in the Retours, 6 5 
about St. Brigid s Chapel, at Clackmannan, 66 where it is mentioned. 6 ? Other 
churches and religious houses, dedicated to her in North Britain, might pro 
bably be enumerated. 

On the continent of Europe, the cultus of this illustrious abbess was ob 
served by the faithful, in various countries, It is to be regretted, that no 



40 See "New Statistical Account of Scot 
land," No. 53, pp. 354 to 366. 

41 See Bishop Forbes " Kalenclars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

42 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land," vol. iii., p. 66. 

See "Old Statistical Account of Scot 
land," vol. ii., p. 826. 

44 See an account of it in " The Imperial 
Gazetteer of Scotland," vol. ii., pp. 374, 
375. 

4 5 He emigrated from Ireland, and estab 
lished a dynasty among the south-western 
Picts in the year 503. He is said to have 
ruled there ten years. See O Flaherty s 
Ogygia," pars iii. Scotise Regum Cata- 
logus Chronologico-Genealogicus, p. 4/0. 

46 See "New Statistical Account of Scot 
land." Ayr, p. 581. 

4 ? See a very complete and an interesting 
account of the parish of Kilbride, in Ayr 
shire, to be found in George Robertson s 
"Topographical Description of Ayrshire; 
more particularly of Cunninghame : together 
with a Genealogical Account of the princi 
pal families in that Bailiwick," pp. 114 to 
145. 

48 See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

4 ? See Dumfries, No. 212. 

5 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land," No. 27,1. 

5 1 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land." Bute, p. 103. 

5 2 See a description of it, in The Tourists 
Shilling Handy Guide of Scotland," sect. 



ix., p. 90. 

53 See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of the 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

54 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land." Bute, p. 54- 

55 See the map prefixed to John Nichol 
son s "History of Galloway." 

s 6 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land." Wigton, p. in. 

s? See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

58 See " New Statistical Account of Scot 
land." Ross, p. 145. 

ss For information regarding this group of 
isles, the reader is referred to the Rev. 
George Barry s "History of the Orkney 
Islands." Edinburgh, 1805, 4to. 

60 Lord Teignmouth, in his " Sketches of 
the Coasts and Islands of Scotland," gives 
several interesting particulars, regarding the 
Orkney Islands. 

61 See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

62 See ibid. 

^ See Rev. Alban s Butler s "Lives of 
the Fathers, Martyrs and other Principal 
Saints," vol. ii., I February. 

64 See Bishop Forbes " Kalendars of 
Scottish Saints," p. 290. 

6 5 See Clackmannan, No. 26. 

66 Here there is a tower nearly So feet 
high and said to have been built by Robert 
Bruce. See The Tourists Shilling Handy 
Guide to Scotland," sect, viii., p. 71. 

6 ? See Bishop Forbes "Kalendars ol 
Scottish Saints," pp. 290, 291. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 215 



complete list can be obtained, at present, to prove the extent to which it had 
gone, or the various localities, in which religious houses, and churches, 68 
dedicated to her, had been established. In British Armorica, 6 ? and in other 
parts of France, St. Brigid was invoked, 70 and very special honour was paid 
to her memory. At the present day, a very fine carved statue of the holy 
virgin, represented nearly life-size in the garb of her order, and attired as an 
abbess, is to be seen, in the noble old cathedral church of St. Orner.? 1 
Among other foundations erected to her honour, in France, we read of an 
hospital at Bisuntinum, which existed in the year I43S.? 2 There was a 
chapel or an altar, dedicated to our saint, in St. Martin s Monastery at Tours ; 
and, in one of his poems, Alcuin 7 - speaks regarding certain altars, erected to 
the Scottish or Irish virgins, Brigid and Ita. 74 Classed with the saints of 
Germany, our Scottish virgin, St. Brigid, is held to have been among the 
most celebrated. 75 We are told, not only of a parish church being dedicated 
to St. Brigid, the Scottish virgin, at Cologne, but we are further informed, 
that it was one of the most remarkable in that city. It bordered on the 
street, called Lankgassen. 76 Candidas, who was a monk of Fulda, and a 
writer who lived in the ninth century, gives us a description of relics there 
preserved, lie mentions a chapel or an altar, dedicated to St. Brigid and to 
other virgins, before the year SiS. 77 In Belgium, likewise, our holy abbess 
was venerated in a distinguished manner. By Molanus, 78 she is ranked 
among the saints of that country. There was a church, erected to our saint, 
near Fossey, in the diocese of Xamur, Belgium. This was frequented by 
pious pilgrims, and by the local inhabitants. The Reverend Dean of Fossey 
was engaged, in the work of repairing this church, before the middle of the 
seventeenth century. 7 1 In his collections regarding St.. Brigid, Father Ward 
tells us, that a church or an altar was dedicated to this great virgin, at 
Hispalis, in Spain ; and, Roth says, that her relics were kept at Lisbon, in 



"Alan Cope, Dial, ii., cap. 22. xxxviii., pp. 186 to 188, lib. xxvi., lib. 

fc sller Office of Nine Lessons is to be xxvii., ibid. He died on the igth of May, 

found in the old " Breviarium Chorisopo- A.n. 804. 

tens j s> :4 Virginibus sacris prcvsens hrcc ara 

7 St. Alcuin compiled a Litany, in which dicata est, 

her name is included, and this form of prayer Cjuarum clara fiat Scottorum vita per 

Charlemagne was accustomed to recite, as urbes, 

part of his daily devotions. Brigida sancta famnna Chnsto simul 

" l During a visit made to this place in Ita fidelis 

July, 1863, the writer was pleased to be- Hue nobis salutem per suifragia 

hold this object of popular respect. Several sancta, &C. 

votive offerings were suspended near it. ^ 

Beside the foregoing statue, was a minia- Alcuinus, "Poemata, JNo. 247. 

ture one, representing the small image of a See 1 ctrus Cratepolius, " De Sanctis 

voung maiden engaged in the act of churn- Germanic. 

ing. Doubtless, both these objects had 6 See Erhard Winheim, "In Sacrano 

been the gift of some former Irish resident, Agnppmce." 

at St. Omer s, to the cathedral church. 77 He says : 

- At this year, we have the subsequent 

testimony of John Chifflet, archbishop over " Agnes & Euphcmia, Geneoufa, Susanna, 

this city, who thus writes: "Hoc anno Columba, 

Capitulum Bisuntinum ratam habuitunionem 1 loc altare ornant rite suis precibus 

Ilospitalis S. Brigida. factum Cantoriaj Bis- Cum qucis tu Brigida, & tu \ irgo tocho- 

untinae : ex actis Capituli, in quibus actis 7 lastica semper _ ;> 

Decemb , I ; 30, dicitur fundatio illius domus Placatum nobis Altithrpnum facias, 

nullibi repenri ; atque idipsum innuit vetus- ^ See his Kalendar at the 1st of ] 

tus anno 1363 conscriptus codex," &c.- ary. " Natales Sanctorum Lelgn, et eorum 

1 ar-ii cap 79 Chronica recapitulatio. i; 

73 See an account of this celebrated writer See Colon s " Trias Thaumaturga 

in Mabillon s " Annales Ordinis S. Bene- Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Bngidee, cap. 

dicti," tomu.s ii., lib. xxiii., sects, xxxvii., xiv., xv., pp. 623, 624. 



216 LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



Portugal. 80 There had been a foundation in her honour, at Placentia, 81 in 
Italy ; but, Colgan could not pronounce with certainty, whether it existed in 
his time. 82 

In England and Scotland, the following modern churches, chapels and 
religious houses have been consecrated or placed under the invocation of our 
great virgin saint. In the diocese of Westminster, and in the city of London, 
there is a St. Brigid s Church, at Baldwin s Gardens, E.G., at Isleworth. 
There is a church, jointly dedicated to Our Eady of the Immaculate Con 
ception and to St. Brigid. In the diocese of Beverly, and in the great manu 
facturing town of Leeds, is a church, dedicated to St. Brigid. In the diocese 
and great commercial town of Liverpool, there is a church of St. Brigid, at 
Bevington Hill, N., there are also a seminary and schools of St. Brigid. 

In the western district of Scotland, a church of St. Brigid was built, in 
1871, at Newmains, in Lanarkshire ; and another at Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, was 
erected in 1862 ; one at Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, was built in i858. 83 

In the New World, and especially since the beginning of the present 
century, several churches, schools, and other religious institutions, have been 
built, in honour of our illustrious saint, and these have been placed under 
her protection. The following enumeration, because drawn from the most 
recent and authentic official source, 84 is deemed to be accurate, so far as it 
goes, and tolerably complete. We shall commence with the great Western 
Republic,, the United States of America. Thus, in the archdiocese of Balti 
more, there is a church, dedicated to St. Brigid, at Canton, and St. Brigid s 
school is to be found at Baltimore. In the diocese of Wheeling, there is a 
church of St. Brigid, at Murray s, Lewis County, State of Virginia. In the 
archdiocese of Boston, there is a St. Brigid s Church, at Abington, one at 
Framingham, one at Maynard, and one at Melrose. In the diocese of 
Burlington, there is a church of St. Brigid, at West Rutland, and parochial 
schools are attached, under the same patronage. In the diocese of Hartford, 
there is a church to St. Brigid, at Cheshire, one at Cornwall, one at Man 
chester, and one at Moodus. There is an academy of St. Brigid, at Meriden, 
under charge of the Sisters of Mercy. In the diocese of Portland, there is a 
church of St. Brigid at Vassalboro. In the diocese of Springfield, there is a 
church of St. Brigid, at East Hampton, and another at Millbury. There is 
another St. Brigid s Church, at Warren. In the archdiocese of Cincinatti, 
there is a church to St. Brigid at Xenia. In the diocese of Cleveland, and 
in the city so called, there is a church of St. Brigid, now building. In the 
diocese of Detroit, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Northfield. In the 
diocese of Fort Wayne, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Logansport. In 
the diocese of Louisville, and in the city so called, is St. Brigid s Church. 
At Hickman, there is another church, dedicated to her. St. Brigid s School, 
in Louisville, is conducted by the Sisters of Loretto. In the diocese of 
Vincennes, there are churches of St. Brigid, at Liberty, and at Nebraska. 
In the archdiocese of Milwaukee, there is a church to St. Brigid, at Kewaskee, 
and one at Ridgeway. In the diocese of Green Bay, there is a church of St. 
Brigid, at Northport. In the diocese of La Crosse, there is a church of St. 
Brigid, at Beaver Creek, as also one at W T estford. In the diocese of St. Paul, 

80 In " Uissertatione de S. Brigida. " tical Register and Almanac, for the year of 

81 This is stated, in an Irish Life of St. our Lord, 1876." London : 1876, 8vo. 
Brigid, chap. 50. ^ See Sadliers " Catholic Directory, 

82 See " Trias Thaumaturga." Appendix Almanac, and Ordo, for the year of our 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigida;, cap. xv., p. Lord, 1876." With full returns of the 
624. various dioceses in the United States and 

83 The foregoing list has been extracted, British America. Published in New York, 
from "The Catholic Directory, Ecclesias- 1876, Svo. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



there is a church of St. Brigid, at Pleasant Grove. In the diocese of Mobile, 
which belongs to the province of Ne\v Orleans, there is a church of St. 
Brigid at Whistler, with a convent and school attached, also dedicated to St. 
Brigid, and attended by the Sisters of Charity. In the archdiocese of New 
York, are a church to St. Brigid, in the city, and also St. Brigid s Academy, 
with_St. Brigid s Male School, taught by the Christian Brothers; also, St. 
Brigid s Female School, taught by the Sisters of Charity. In the diocese of 
Albany, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Port Schuyler, one at Salisbury, one 
at Copake, and one at Skaneateles Falls. In the diocese of Brooklyn, there 
is a church of St. Brigid, at Westbury. In the diocese of Buffalo, and in the 
city so named, there is a church of St. Brigid. Again, at Cuba and at 
Bergen, there are churches to St. Brigid. St. Brigid s Schools in Buffalo, are 
under the care of the Sixers of Mercy. In the diocese of Newark, there 
are churches of St. Brigid, at Glassboro, at High Bridge (now building), 
and at Jersey City. St. Bride s Academy, Jersey City, is taught by Sisters 
of Chanty, and they also teach in parochial schools attached. In the 
diocese of Ogdensburg, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Trout River. 
In the diocese of Rochester, and in the city of that name, there is 
a church of St. Brigid, and there is one in East Bloomiield. In the city, 
St. Brigid s Free School is taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph. In the 
archdiocese of Philadelphia, there is a church of St. Brigid, at the Falls of 
Schtiylkill. In the diocese of Frie, there is a church of St. Brigid, at James 
town, and one at Meadville. At the latter place, is St. Brigid s Academy, 
under care of the Sisters of St. Joseph, besides a parochial school, under her 
invocation. In the diocese of Pittsburgh, and in the city so named, there is 
a church of St. Brigid, and one also at McXeill s Settlement, as likewise one 
at Wellesburgh. St. Brigid s Schools are in the city of Pittsburgh. In the 
diocese of Scranton, there is a Mission of St. Brigid, at Reiser Valley. In 
the archdiocese of St. Louis there are churches, one to St. Bridgid in the 
city of St. Louis, and one at Pacific City. In the city of St. Louis are St. 
Brigid s Christian Brothers Schools, St. Brigid s Half-Orphan Asylum, and 
St. Brigid s Female Schools, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. In the 
diocese of Alton, there is a church to St. Brigid at Liberty, and one at Delhi. 
In the diocese of Chicago, and at Bridge Port, Chicago, there is a church of 
St. Brigid. There is another at Tremont. In Chicago are St. Brigid s 
Schools for Boys under the Christian Brothers ; while, there are also St. 
Brigid s Schools for Girls. In the diocese of Nashville, there is a church of 
St. Brigid at Memphis, and schools are attached to it, under care of the Do 
minican Nuns. In the diocese of St. Joseph, there are churches of St. Brigid, 
at Bucklin, and at Forest City. In the Vicariate Apostolic of Ransas, there 
are churches of St. Brigid, at Coalfield, and at St. Brigid s. In the arch 
diocese of San Francisco, and in the city so called, there is a church of St. 
Brigid, and one at Volcano. 

The following churches, dedicated to the renowned abbess of Rildare, 
are in the British possessions. In the province of Quebec, Lower Canada, 
and in the diocese of Three Rivers, there is a parish church of Ste. Brigitte ; 
in the diocese and city of Montreal, there is a church, dedicated to St. 
Bridget ; in the diocese of St. Hyacinth, there is a parish church, dedicated 
to Ste. Brigide ; in the diocese of Ottawa, there is a church of St. Brigid, at 
Onslow, and another at Osgood, on the Rideau, while there is a St. Brigid s 
School, at Ottawa, in charge of Gray Nuns ; in the diocese of St. Germain of 
Rimotiski, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Maria. In the province of To 
ronto, Upper Canada, and in the diocese of Kingstown, there is a church of 
St. Brigid, at Burgess. In the province of Halifax, and in the diocese of St. 
John, N.B., there is a church of St. Brigid. at Kingstown ; in the diocese of 



2l8 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Chatham, there is a church of St. Brigid, at Renous Bridge ; in the diocese 
of Charlottstown, on Lott n, there is a church of St. Brigid. Again, in the 
diocese of St. John s, Newfoundland, there is a church, known as St. Bride s 
and Branch. 

Three different days, within the year, have special festivals of St. Brigid 
assigned to them, according to our Irish annalists and hagiographers. First, 
At the year 449, the " Annals of Roscrea" state, that our saint was born on 
Wednesday, and on the eighth moon of February. This is attested, likewise, 
by an Irish Life of St. Brigid. 8 * Yet, in no other record or martyrology can 
we mid confirmation, concerning this statement. Secondly, The Feast of a 
Translation of St. Patrick s, of St. Brigid s, and of St. Columbkille s Relics 
occurs, on the Qth of June, 86 according to various authorities, while others 
assign it to the day following, or to the loth of this same month. 8 ? Our own 
respected Colgan says, he could not undertake to settle such a question, 88 as 
at the time of writing, he had been an exile from his country during thirty-two 
years, and, as a consequence, he was ignorant regarding Irish Church customs 
and practice, in celebrating this festival of their Translation. 8 ? Thirdly, 
The principal festival of St. Brigid was that of her Natalis, on the ist of 
February, and this corresponds with the day of her death.9 By an Indult 
of the Papal See,^ the ist of February was to be observed, as a double of 
the second class, throughout all Ireland. In the united dioceses of Kildare 
and Leighlin, the feast of St. Brigid, as special patroness of these_ dioceses, 
is observed as a double of the first class, with an octave, commencing on the 
ist of February, and terminating on the 8th day of the same month. This 
principal festival of St. Brigid is noticed^ in nearly all our native and foreign 
Martyrologies, whether in MSS. or published. 

St. dingus, the Culdee, in his Metrical Festilogy, at the Kalends, or ist 



8 = In the sixth chapter. 

86 See Stanihurst, in "Vita S. Patricii," 
lib. ii., cap. 76. 

8 ? Ussher, referring to Down, in his 
"Primordiis Ecclesiarum Britannicarum," 
cap. via., p. 791, cites the following passage, 
from lect. vi., Officii Translationis, printed 
at Paris, A.D. 1620 : "Tempore vero trans- 
lationis eorum in dicta Ecclesia prsesidebunt 
quindecim Episcopi cum Abbatibus, Pra> 
positis, Decanis, Archidiaconibus, Prioribus, 
aliisque viris orthodoxis quam plurimis, 
statuentes diem translationis dictorum sanc 
torum ab universis Christi lidelibus per lli- 
berniam constitutis quarto Idas Junii per 
singulos annos celebrari ct transferentes 
festum S. ColumbiU in crastinum octavamm 
istarum reliquiarum istarum." Ussher ob 
serves, that for "quarto Idas," we should 
read, "quinto Iclus ;" and, this emendation 
seems to be suggested by the words of the 
text itself, " transferentes festum S. Colum- 
bse." 

83 Colgan remarks, that if the loth of 
June be not meant, why should St. Co- 
lumba s feast, which fell "in quintum Iclus," 
or on the gth day of June, be transferred to 
the feast of the before-mentioned translation, 
which seems to have fallen, not on that day, 
but on the fourth uf the Ides, correspond 
ing with the loth of June, when it was pro 



bably celebrated. 

s Yet, we find the feast of the Transla 
tion of St. Patrick s Relics, set down at the 
loth of June ; while, at the same day, we 
read, in the emendator of Usuard, or in the 
"Carthusian Martyrology:" "Apud Sco- 
tiam Translatio S. Patricii, Episcopi et 
Confessoris." Canisius has a like entry, in 
his " German Martyrology." In "Catalogo 
Generali/ Eerrarius, citing Canisius, gives a 
similar account, and he afterwards adds in 
his notes : " Ex Canisio hac die, quce Trans 
lationis est. Natalis enim die 17. Martii, 
ut in Martyrologio Romano, colitur. Est 
autim ille Patricius celeberrimus Episcopus, 
Hibernia Primas, et miraculis illustris : cu- 
jus corpus Duni urbe Hibernica, olim con- 
ditum erat una cum comporibus Sanctorum 
Columbre Abbatis, et Brigidai Virginis. 
Cujus rei distichon apud Hectorem Boetium 
legitur hoc 

"III tres in Duno tumulo tumulantur in 
uno, 

Brigida, Patricius, atque Columba pius." 

yo See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidse, cap. 
xi., pp. 620, 621. 

yl Bearing date August 6th, 1854, and 
issued by Pope Pius IX. 

9= At the ist of February. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



of February, mentions this illustrious cenobiarch of pious women, with a dis 
tinguishing eulogy. 93 The " Martyrology of Tallaght," ^ composed by the 
same St. yEngus and St. Molruan, records the eternal rest of St. Brigid, as 
taking place in the seventieth year of her age, and on the Kalends of Febru 
ary. Likewise, the Calendar of Cashel, Charles Maguire, Fitzsimons, and 
other hagiographists, treat about our saint and her festival, at the ist of 
February. Besides these notices, in that ancient Martyrology, kept in the 
Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Dublin, the memory of St. Brigid, 
virgin, is noted, with particular eulogy, at the Kalends, or ist day of Febru 
ary. 9 5 Her office was celebrated with the reading of nine lessons. This day 
was regarded as the one of her Dormition, Deposition,? 6 or Death. The 
martyrologist avers, that she went to join the Heavenly choirs of angels, and 
Christ, for whose love she wrought, after performing signs and miracles, 
after renowned works of mercy and alms-deeds, after pure humility and 
benevolence, devoted to God, and after an illustrious example afforded to 
other virgins of chastity and of holiness. If the great works of this noble 
virgin were to be written in full, the martyrologist declares, he should be 
obliged to write a book of an unusual size. A still later composition, the 
Martyrology of Donegal^ records, on this day, the celebration of the festival 
of Brighit, virgin, abbess of Cill-Dara. 

The Roman Martyrology, 8 and Father Stephen White,^ commemorate 
this renowned virgin, at the ist of February. In the anonymous catalogue 
of Irish saints, published by O Sullivan Beare, 100 the name of St. Brigida occurs. 
In Henry Fit/simon s list, it is also to be found at this date. 101 Reference is 
made to Surius, and to notes in the Roman Martyrology, as edited by 
Baronius. 102 Convaeus observes, in relation to this saintly virgin, at the 
same day, that she was of royal race. 103 In several ancient Martyrologies 
the feast of this holy virgin is recorded. Venerable Bede, in noting it, 
remarks, that St. Brigid s Life had been distinguished for miracles. 10 * Rabanus 



95 The followin- rann, transcribed from * At this day, the Roman Martyrology 

the "Leabhar Breac," with its English says: "In Scotia S. Brigidse Virginis, 
translation, has been kindly furnished to qua; cum lignum altaris tetigisset, in testi- 
the writer, by the Irish Professor, Bryan monium Virginitatis suoe statim vinde fac- 
O Looney, of the Catholic University : turn est." 

99 See "Apologia pro Hibernia, cap. 
O. kl. ttlonAir OAUMVTO fc^&t, iv., p. 39, cap. v., pp. 71, 72. 

Wxorr mA|\arv marx n-jlwen O ; I0 See "Historic Catholic* Ibernue 

V>1\ip r b,\n bAlc-c n-UAlArm, Compendium," tomus i., lib. iv., cap. XL, 

Ceivo CA1T) cAillec n-er\iMin. p. 49- 

101 See ibid., cap. xii., p. 53. 

102 Baronius remarks, that Bede, Usuarcl, 
Ado, and other Martyrologists, agree. He 
also says, that Surius, in his first tome, has 
some acts relating to our saint ; while, in an 
OKI MS. copy, belonging to St. Cecilia s 

On the ist of February, we find entered monastery, beyond the Tiber, her Acts were 
in Dr. Kelly s " Martyrology of Tallagh," written, at greater length, by Cogitosus, in 
"Dormitatio S. JJrigida:, Ixx. anno ct-tatis 24 distinct chapters. Appended to this 
SIIT " n xiv l^ e were some verses - 

95* See the work, edited by John Clarke "* He adds, that she was venerated at 

CrosthwaUhe and Rev. Dr/Todd. Intro- Lisbon, the chief city of Portugal w here her 
duction, pp. xlvii., liii., and pp. 62, 84, 85. sacred relics were preserved, and were an- 

s 6 The English Martyrology says: "In nually exposed "Jubilsei celebiatione. - 
Hibernia depositio S. Brigida: Virginis," See ibid. , cap. x. p. 47. ., 

104 "Apud Scotiam S. Bngidse vnginis . 

97 See Drs Todd s and Reeves edition, cuj us vita miraculis claruit ; quffi cum lignum 
pp. 34 to 37. tetigisset, viride factum est. 



A shower of martyrs great, resplendenl 



The chaste head of the nuns of Erin. 




220 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



Maurus has a notice of her nativity. Io s St. Ado of Vienna has a record in 
his Martyrology, and exactly like that of Eede. Usuard extended, or the 
Carthusian Martyrology, at the ist of February, remarks on her renowned 
miracles. 106 St. Notker has a similar notice to that of Raban, with an addi 
tion about the wood of the altar becoming green, in recognition of her 
purity. 10 ? The Blessed Marianus O Gorman calls our saint, the Arch-Virgin 
or Chief of the Irish Virgins. 1 " 3 And the Martyrology of Salisbury states 
her great merits. 10 9 Wandelbertus Prumiensis, 110 Galasinus, 111 and Mola- 
nus, 112 in their respective Martyrologies, as also Hermanns Gruen, have 
notices of this holy virgin, at the ist day of February. 1 ^ Other authorities, 
if cited, should prove too tedious for enumeration. 114 

In various antiphonaries, office books, 115 kalendars, and martyrologies, 
her name and feasts are inscribed. Likewise notices are to be met with, in 
those ecclesiastical remains, which serve to manifest the great reverence paid 
her memory by the clergy, in different dioceses, throughout Ireland. 

The office of St. Brigid appears to have been recited in times the most 
remote, not alone in the diocese of Kildare, as special patroness, but through 
out the various other dioceses of Ireland, as also in the British Isles, and on 
the continent of Europe. The old " Breviarium Chorisopotensis" of British 
Armorica, had an office of St. Brigid, having nine lessons. Her feast was 
celebrated at Cologne, as a double, and in the church, bearing her name, 



I0 5 "In Hibernia Nativitas Brigidae, quce 
nativitas magnorum meritorum et sanctitatis 
esse pnedicatur." 

iob j n y cot i a s. Brigidee Virginis cujus 
Vita miraculis clarait. " 

I0 7"In Hibernia Nativitas S. Brigidae 
Virginis quse multorum meritorum et sanc 
titatis esse praedicatur, adeo ut cum lignum 
altaris tetigisset viride fit effectum. " 

108 " Brigida Archivirgo, seu caput vir- 
ginum Hibernios." 

^ In Scotia fcstum S. Brigidce Vir 
ginis, cujus vita virtutibus et miraculis fuit 
valde famosa." 

110 He thus writes : 

" Brigida Virgo potens, Februi sibi prima 

Calendas 
Scotorum miro poscit celebrata favore. " 

111 In his " Martyrology" at the same day, 
Galasinus observes, " In Scotia S. Brigidae 
Virginis, qua; apud Episcopum cum virgini- 
tatem protiteretur, lignum altaris tetigit, 
quod statim viride factum, argumento fuit 
ejus sanctitatis, et virginalis castitas." 
Again : " Brigida Virgo, qu:u ut seribunt 
Lippomanus et alii, fuit e Scotia vcl Hiber 
nia oriunda, nata ex Dubtacho patre et qua- 
dain ejus ancilla ; quae multis postmodum 
miraculis valde illustris evasit, multaque 
Virginum et Monachorum Monasteria fun- 
davit, multa restauravit. Ilia est, quie solo 
attactu lignum altaris in siue virginitatis 
argumentum, viride effecit, mortua est cum 
magna sanctitatis opinione anno 518. Alii 
volunt, an 522." Felic. I. Febr. 

"- In his Belgian Calendar, at the 1st of 
February, Molanus places her among the 
Beliiian saints, bee "Natales Sanctorum 



Belgii, et eorum Chronica recapitulatio." 

113 At the same day, in MS. Chartucie 
Coloniensis, Gruen writes: " S. Brigidse 
Virginis in Scotia, alias Hibernia." 

114 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga." 
Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidae, cap. 
xi., pp. 620, 621. 

113 The following notices refer to her 
Offices and Feasts. A MS. of T.C.D., 
classed B. I, I, contains at February 1st, 
Kal. Sanctae Brigidos Virginis non martyris 
iii. lect. .A MS. classed B. 3, i, at the same 
date, enters in its Kalendar, Sanctse Brigi 
da? Virginis non Martyris Duplex fiii ix. lect. 
A MS. classed B. 1,4, contains at February 
the 1st, Kal. Sanctse Brigidae Virginis non 
Martyris, ix. lect. , in its Kalendar. Another 
entry, at February 1st Kal. is Sanctse Brigi 
dse Virg. ix. lect. A calendar in Trinity 
College in MS., marked, B. 3, 9, has in 
the list of its Irish saints, at February the 
Ist, Kal. Sancta; Brigidae Virg. non mart, 
iii. lect. A MS. classed B. 3, 10, registers 
at February the I si, Kal. Sanctui Brigidae 
Virg. A MS. classed 15. 3, 12, contains 
at Februarii, Kal. Brigida; Virg. ix. lect. 
A MS. classed B. 3, 13, contains at Feb 
ruary 1st, Kal. Sancta; Brigida; Virg. non 
mart. ix. lect. In the Kalendar of a Roman 
Psaltery, classed among the MSS., B. 3, 14, 
at February ist, Kal. is noted Brigidae Vir 
ginis. In another, classed 13. 3, 15, is en 
tered, at February 1st, in French, Sc Bride. 
In another Kalendar of the Breviary, accord 
ing to the Sarum rite, and in the second 
part, at February 1st, Kal., we have entered 
Sanctae Brigidae Virginis, with an Office of 
Three Lessons. This latter is classed, in 
both its parts, B. 3, 18, 19. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIG ID. 



she being its patroness. In the breviaries and missals, belonging to the 
churches of Utrecht, of Treves, of Mentz, of Herbipolis, of Constance, of 
Strasburg, and of many other places in Germany, her feast is set down as a 
si:nplcx, at the ist of February. Before Colgan s time, an office of St. Brigid 
had been printed at Paris, A.D. 1622. In this, the antiphons are proper and 
taken from the lauds, in the first vespers of her feast. The capitulum, hymn, 
antiphon of the Magnificat, and prayer, are also proper. At matins, the in- 
vitatorium, hymn, as at first vespers, antiphons, responses, the fourth, fifth, 
and sixth lessons of the second nocturn, are proper, the remaining lessons 
being taken from the common of virgins. The antiphons, capitulum, hymn, 
versicles, and responses, with the antiphons at Benedictus, and the prayer 
are proper for lauds. At little hours, the antiphons are taken from the 
proper antiphons of lauds. At second vespers, the antiphons, psalms, capi 
tulum, and hymn, as at first vespers of the feast, the versicle, response and 
antiphon of the Magnificat, are likewise proper. The second office, taken 
from the Roman Breviary, 1 6 has the six first lessons of the various nocturns, 
one and two, with a prayer proper. The same observations will also apply, 
to the third office of our saint, printed from the " Breviarium Giennensis," 
published in Italy. We find a fourth office, taken from the Breviary of the 
Canons Regular of Lateran, printed by Francis Wander, at Mons. Besides 
the prayer proper, there are apparently three proper lessons, as reprinted 
in Colgan s work. 11 ? 

Hymns and panegyrics of St. Brigid have been written in various lan 
guages. A Latin hymn, in praise of St. Brigid, and attributed to Nitmid lam- 
hidan, or "Xinnid of the clean hand," is preserved." 8 There is an Irish 
poem on St. Brigid, but improperly ascribed to St. Suibne, the son of Cohnan, 
in the Bethain Manuscript Collection," 9 belonging to the Royal Irish 
Academy, and written by O Longan, of Cork. Among the manuscripts of 
Trinity College, Lhuyd 1 - notes an Irish hymn, " 1 in which St. Brigid s praise 
is celebrated. Another, composed by St. Columkille, in the time of ^Fdh 
Mac Ainmerech, also celebrates her merits, and it is in the Irish language. 122 
Besides the foregoing, Fdmund Ihvyer, Bishop of Limerick, has composed 
some Latin verses, on the miracles of St. Brigid. 12 ^ 

116 "Printed at Venice, by Antonio de Quid ? nota frons floris, floris at hostis 

Giuntu, A.D. 1522. Hymen. 

"? See Col-an s "Trias Thaumaturga." Side-re so privat, velut hoste pudoris, 

Appendix 1 riiua ad Aeta S. Brigida.-, pp. ocello : 

599 to 602. An tjuia dat ccucis lumina, cccca manet? 

118 Among the Trinity College Mann- Dat Bellona viros, Brigida umbras ensibus 

scripts, Dublin, we fuund a copy in the cscam 

MS., cla-.-ed, K. 4, 2. Brigida bruta facit scire, Minerva viros. 

"> Vol. liv., p. 176. Res cunctas parere parum est ; en recula 

120 See " Arclucologia Britannica," p. inanis 

436. Umbra capit vulnus, pondus & umbra 

*-* It is particularised thus : 501. Ilymni subit. 

in laudem B. I atricii, Brigida , el Columb;e, Next follow some lines, on the inextinguish- 

Hibern. plerumque, fol. membr. I. 125. able fire of St. Brigid : 

I2 - It is thus described by Lhuyd : "An 

hymn on S. Brigid in Irish, made by Cohim- " Ardet inextinctus Brigidse focus igne pe- 

kille, in the time of Eda Mae Ainmereck, or renni, 

Broccan Cloin ; cum regibus Hibern. et Non capit augmentum coctus at inde 

Success. S. Patricii, p. 14." See " Archaco- cinis 

logia Britannica," p. 436. Quid notat ille rogus? tacitse-ne incendia 

123 We shall extract from those portions, mentis ? 

which are given by Colgan : Vivaci vivax igne notatur amor ? _ 

Seel si hajc flamma, suos dum Brigida 

" Dum Brigidse fit Hymen, frondet pes ari- foverit ignes, 

dus arse : Nescia mortis erit ; nescia mortis ent, 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



It is certain, from what we have already seen, the great St. Brigid s relics 
were preserved with great honour, at Kilclare, and afterwards at Down, for 
many years after her death. Among other relics of our saint, Hanmer men 
tions a bell, called " Clogg Brietta," or " Brigid s Bell," which he says, the 
superstitious Irish found out, in process of time, and to which they attributed 
great virtue and holiness. This bell, he says, and other toys, carried about, 
not only in Ireland, but also in England, were banished the land, in the time 
of Henry V. I2 4 Colgan indignantly takes exception to such statements ; and, 
he shows, that the relic in question was not a recent invention or a fraud, 
but that it had existed from a remote period. 125 Yet, he would not under 
take to pronounce, whether or not, this had been the identical bell, sent by 
St. Gildas to our saint as a present. 126 At the church of Serin, in Ireland, 
was preserved a shroud, in which St. Brigid s corpse is said to have been 
wrapped, together with other much venerated relics of this same church. 12 ? 
Doctor Petrie tells us, that he had in his own cabinet, that celebrated reli 
quary, which contained a slipper of St. Bridget. It is said, that a part of St. 
Brigid s sacred relics, and especially the wood that became green, 128 were 
preserved at Candida Casa, until these had been profaned at the period of 
the Reformation. I2 9 In his catalogue of the Irish saints, Ricardus Convaeus, 
as already mentioned, tells us, that some relics belonging to our saint, were 
preserved in a church of the city of Lisbon, in Portugal. It is not impro 
bable, that certain mementoes of St. Brigid had been deposited in some of 
the churches, dedicated to her memory, as previously detailed, and more 
especially within those, which were built in extern countries. J 3 

In art, S. Bridget is usually represented, with her perpetual flame, as a 
symbol ; sometimes, with a column of fire, said to have been seen above her 
head, when she took the veil.^ 1 This flame has reference, likewise, to the 
portent of illumination about the house in which she was born. In allusion 
to her tending of cows, she is also represented, dressed as a dairy-maid, and 
in the act of churning. Again, one of her floral emblems is the " Laurus 
Nobilis," which is called the shrub of St. Bride, although it does not flower 
on her day. J 3 2 We are told, furthermore, that her type among created things 
is the dove among birds, the vine among trees, and the sun among the 
stars. 133 

St. Brigid had been regarded by our ancestors as the special patroness of 
Leinster. 1 ^ In many parts of Ireland, a very considerable number of mar- 

124 See Hanmer s " Chronicle of Ireland," 3 See Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga. " 
p. 91. Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidae, cap. 

125 For proof of this assertion, he cites the xvii., p. 626. 

respective martyrologies of St. /Engus, or of I31 See Rev. S. Baring- Gould s "Lives of 

liis scholiast, and of Charles Maguire, at the the Saints," vol. ii., February L, p. 22. 
ist of February. See "Trias Thauma- 132 See " Circle of the Seasons," p. 32. 

lurga." Appendix Quarta ad Acta S. Bri- I33 See Professor O Looney s Irish Life of 

gidce, cap. xvii., p. 625. St. Brigid, pp. 43, 44. 

1=6 See Colgan s "Acta Sanctorum Hiber- I34 The following quotation, in reference 

niae," xxix. Januarii. Vita S. Gildte Ba- to St. Bridget, is from a poem on the " Pa- 

clonici, cap. ix., p. 183. tron Saints of the principal tribes and terri* 

127 According to St. Adamnan s catalogue lories of Ireland," several copies of which 
of these religious treasures. are preserved in the Library of the R. I. A. 

128 In token of her purity, the altar is said Especially there are two MSS., classed 23, 
to have become virescent, and to have budded L. 19, and 23, L. 39. An extract is kindly 
forth flowers, according to one account. See furnished by Mr. Joseph O Longan, which, 
Colgan s " Trias Thaumaturga. " Appendix with its English translation, reads as fol- 
Quarta ad Acta S. Brigidte, cap. xi., pp. lows : 

620, 621. taigeAii uite Ar\ cul fy\1j i oe 

129 See Camerarius " De Statu Hominis Clu 50 fai-ob^e. 

veteris simul ac novae Ecclesise, et Sanctis All Leinster under the protection of Bridget, 
Kegni Scotise," lib. i., cap. iii., sec. 2, p. 141. Fame most precious. 



LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



nages were solemnized within that period of the year, extending from the 
Epiphany to Ash-Wednesday. Several parties were also most anxious that 
their marriages should be celebrated before the ist of February so that 
possession might then be taken of their new abode. ss It was also an in 
variable usage of the Irish people to have female infants, born on the feast 
oi the holy abbess of Kildare, baptized with the beautiful name of Bridget s* 
This even was a practice, when such births preceded or succeeded 
the iestivdby a week or two, and when no other sister had already received 
that name in a particular family. 

_ The sapient Irish antiquary, Ledwich, while considerately allowing Si 
igid to have had an existence, in one passage of his work/37 deems her to 
have been a purely imaginary personage, in another,^ or to have been a 
sort of Druidess, established at Kildare to preserve fire, together with her 
community of Druidesses, ^ whom it would be so absurd to call nuns We 
cannot even discover, when the practice of preserving fire had been at first 
introduced, in Kildare. MO Giraldus Cambrensis is the first writer who men- 
Whatever had been the system of the heathen Irish, with regard 
to the preservation of lire, nothing occurs to prove, that the practice of Kil 
dare was in any manner derived from it ; although, it is not meant to be 
denied, that some remnants of Pagan customs have been observed, without, 
however, any bad intention, in Ireland, as well as in other countries. 1 ** liven, 
it was sometimes thought advisable, to allow certain time-sanctioned usages^ 
harmless in themselves ; yet, with the precaution of having them directecf to 
the worship and honour of the true and Almighty God. 1 ^ As yet happens 
m the midland counties, and in parts of the South of Ireland, the custom of 
carrying the "Brigid Oge is practised, especially by young persons; 1 ^ 
still, this is more likely to have had a Christian, rather than a Gentile 
origin. M The Irish practice of making circular 1 ** and square crosses on St. 

For this information, I fee! indebted to 4 It was kept constantly burning, in an 

Ven. John Kenny, I). I)., P.P., Knnis, and enclosure near the monastery, as Ware says, 

dean of Killaloe diocese, conveyed in a letter <; De Ilibeniia et Antiquitatibus ejus, Dis- 

dated Knnis, April 14111, 1875. quisitiones," &c., cap. xvii., p. 83, for the 

_ In Cormac s " Glossary," the name of benefit of the poor and of guests. To this 

Brigit is derived from / rco-ai^il, bnv-s/ inigif, remark, Harris wantonly added, "as was 

in English "a liery arrow. See " SAruvr- pretended." This practice continued until 

ChorM)K\uy translated and annotated by the suppression of monasteries in the reign 

Ir. O Donovan, edited, with Notes and In- of King Henry VIII. See Harris Ware, 

dices, by Whitley Stokes, p. 23. vol. ii.", "The Antiquities of Ireland," 

n7 Dr. Milner was induced to suppose, chap, xxxv., p. 238. 

that Ledwich did not deny the existence of I4= See Dr. Lanigan s "Ecclesiastical 

St. Brigid. See "Tour in Ireland," letter History of Ireland," vol. i., chap, ix., sec. 

\i. Dr. Milner, however, seems to have vi., n. 98, pp. 459, 460. 

observed only a passage at p. 387 of the I4 > In reference to this matter, see St., 

"Antiquities of Ireland," overlooking one Gregory the Great s letter to Mellitus in 

at P- 37^. Bede s " Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis An- 

158 See Dr. Ledwich s "Antiquities of glorum," lib. i., cap. 30. 

Ireland," p. 378. Yet observed in Carrigaline, and in 

39 Ledwich imagines, these were intended other parts of Cork county. Letter from 

to replace the heathen Druidesses of yore. Very Rev. Denis Canon M Swiney, P.P., 

If the Pagan Irish worshipped or tended to the writer. 

fire, however, its care was entrusted to -ts According to a modern writer, the 

Druids, rather than to Druidesses. custom of carrying about an image of St. 

140 Such account is not referred to in very Brigid, on the eve of her festival, is said to 

ancient documents. The writers of St. have been derived from Paganism. See 

Brigid s Lives, it seems evident, knew no- Marcus Keane s " Towers and Temples of 

thing about it. See her Third Life, at chap. Ancient Ireland," p. 60. 

84, and her Fourth Life, book ii., chap. 57. ^ These are sometimes called llog t)f\i- 

Colgan s "Trias Thaumaturga," pp. 537, jp oe, " Brigid s Ring," and they are invari- 

538, 558, 559. ably made by women alone. From a draw 



3230^8 



224 LIFE OF ST. B RIGID. 



Brigid s eve, still prevailing ; and the hanging out of a ribbon or handkerchief 
from windows 14 ? yet pretty general in the South of Ireland 148 maybe traced 
to the discontinuance of old festive and Christian usages. All our legend-lore 
confirms the truth of such a conclusion. In the county of Cork, this tradi 
tion prevails. St. Patrick once said in St. Brigid s hearing, that every second 
day from her festival should be good. 14 ^ " Yes," replied the holy Brigid, 
" and half of my day, too." 15 

Although this illustrious patroness of Ireland just 1 , deserved the title of 
Thaumaturga, or " Worker of Miracles," and althougn she was eminently 
distinguished for her faith, her spirit of prophecy, and her knowledge con 
cerning the most sublime mysteries of Christianity ; yet, she considered, with 
the great Apostle of the Gentiles, that without charity, her works could not 
be rendered perfect. 151 Though she spoke words of human and angelic 
wisdom or eloquence, she deemed herself as nothing, or not better than 
sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, if not poss 3sing this queen of all 
virtues. In the distribution of temporal goods, she was liberal, indeed, and 
almost to prodigality, especially when poor and distressed individuals claimed 
her protection. This was done, through no motive of ostentation, or through 
any pride of soul, through no indirect self-seeking or ambition. She was in 
duced, neither to think evil, nor to feel indignant, even when unworthy 
persons approached to obtain her alms. She envied not others, when fortune 
dealt adversely with herself ; she was humble, as the lowliest of her religious, 
when placed over them as a superior. She bore kindly and patiently, with 
the perverseness and ingratitude of some ; while, being a lover of what was 
deemed upright and just, the holy Brigid laboured indefatigably, in the cause 
of religion and divine truth. Speaking and understanding as a child, in her 
youth, yet she learned to love and serve God ; nor, in her advanced years 
was it deemed necessary to put away the things she had learned, in earlier 
life, since these stood the test of genuine holiness. She was only required 
to glean fresher flowers, and to gather riper fruits, before her course on earth 
had finally closed. Steadily keeping her own sanctification in view, she 
burned with a holy zeal to secure the salvation of all other persons, especially 
those immediately subject to her regular rule. She undertook many wonder 
ful labours, and her energies never failed, in bringing them to a satisfactory 
issue. In doing the work of God, her soul seemed to expend itself in each 
particular action ; and, yet, after such accomplishment, it felt invigorated for 
fresher toils. Bright, indeed, is her crown in Heaven, and unfading are her 
rewards. If she was strong in faith, she was firm in hope ; and, as an ardent 
love of God and of her neighbour animated her devoted spirit, so was she a 
living impersonation on earth of that virtue, greatest of all, pure and perfect 
charity. 

ing of one, sent to the writer by Mr. Denis I4S The foregoing and the following infor- 

A. O Leary, Kilbolane Cottage, Charleville, mation was kindly communicated in Mr. 

County Cork, it seems in every respect to O Leary s letter of April lyth, 1875. 

resemble St. Patrick s tastefully decorated Mr. O Longan informs me, that St. 

cross, so becomingly worn by Irish female Patrick is reputed to have said these words. 

children on their right shoulder, each St. I5 In the Irish version, the saying of St. 

Patrick s Day. Exactly similar crosses are Patrick runs thus : 

made by men, and put up in the thatch every "5^6 OAJAA IA 50 niAic 

Patrick s Day, but only one is made on 6 l^ IAG b]\i 5-oe AIIIAC." 

each festival occurring. Then follows the reply : " SeAt>," mlb" 41 pC 

I4 7 This is said to lengthen during the "bpig-ra, "^5^ ICAC mo l<xe leif." 

night, and to cure headaches. ISI See i. Cor. xiii. 

END OF THE LIFE OF ST. BRIGID. 



mm m